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Latest news & stories | View response in: Français

Responding department: Group CSR Department

Stock exchange symbol: (CA:FP)

English translation of Carrefour's French original.

Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?

Carrefour’s respect for Human rights policy comes under its overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment:

It is part of the Carrefour Group’s CSR strategy and is underpinned by three principles:

  • An anti-wastage plan to limit the use of resources
  • Protecting biodiversity (protecting recourses)
  • Working with our stakeholders (clients, employees, suppliers and society)

Between 2000 and 2013 Carrefour has worked mainly to check 100% of suppliers making Carrefour products in countries requiring special monitoring. This was done by means of social audits and action plans,. Having attained this objective, a new action plan could be envisaged. At the same time, the teams concerned have taken on board the procurement rules that were updated in 2013 and disseminated by the General Management.

In 2014, based on both recommendations made by the International Federation for Human rights (FIDH) and the results of earlier actions, a 2015-2017 action plan was produced. This action plan aims to ensure that suppliers respect Human rights by :

1.defining indicators to measure compliance with Carrefour’s requirements for employee working conditions;

2.increasing the effectiveness of checks and audits;

3.implementing partnerships with suppliers;

4.working towards the convergence of monitoring standards used by contractors;

5.implementing human rights abuse prevention programmes supported by the Carrefour Foundation and carried out by the FIDH and other partners.

The commitment is formalised in three key documents based on major fundamental principles (Universal Declaration of Human rights, the International Labour Organization (ILO) core conventions relating to fundamental rights, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines, and the United Nations (UN) Global Compact): the Code of Business Conduct, the Supplier Charter, the Carrefour reference framework for suppliers,, and the Reference Agreement with the UNI Global Union where Carrefour commitments to respect freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining in its business..

Please provide the web-link for this policy commitment:

[link]

How are human rights governed in your company?

Carrefour’s approach, which integrates respect for Human rights, is the responsibility of the Group’s General Secretary, with support from the Group’s CSR Department.  Respect for human rights is based on written rules. An organisation has been set up to ensure their implementation and monitoring:

  • Carrefour product procurement rules were rewritten and published by Carrefour’s Chairman in September 2013 to be applied  to every country where the Group operates, and include requirements for respecting human rights.
  • A human rights committee, bringing together all the departments concerned, monitors compliance with the rules and steers the Group’s actions.
  • Dedicated managers within country sourcing teams are responsible for the day-to-day application of the procurement rules (audit and action plan monitoring, supplier relations, participation in collaborative actions).
  • Within the context of the ‘doing our job well’ approach, all Carrefour teams are made aware of respect for human rights issues in their business.
  • Carrefour is supported by its internal and external stakeholders (FIDH, trade unions organisations (UNI Global Union and the European Information and Consultation Committee (CICE)) in defining, deploying and monitoring its actions in order to make ongoing progress.

How are human rights managed within your company?

Potential Human rights abuses differ by country. Several international organisations (the UN, World Bank, etc.) publish indicators allowing problems in a country or world region to be identified. In consultation with stakeholders, Carrefour has done a mapping exercise of countries according to their ability to implement effective governance and combat human rights abuses. This tool enables the Group to focus on preventative actions aimed at improving the working conditions of its suppliers’ employees and adapting the suppliers’ approach country by country.

In addition to this map, Carrefour’s teams use international information platforms (Maplecroft, UBI, etc.) to ensure that indicators are up to date and to keep a check on the situation in countries where its suppliers are located.

Within the context of IFANS, an association established to further the Carrefour/FIDH partnership, several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were identified to carry out projects directly with populations in contact with suppliers or their employees.

Monitoring compliance with the social conditions of production was implemented in 2000. It is a process that starts before the supplier receives an order and upon which the order is conditional. The process was bolstered in 2013, and the procurement rules were confirmed in writing by Carrefour’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in September 2013 for all the countries where the Group operates. Procurement teams were also given training.

Carrefour’s requirements in terms of social conditions of production are defined in the Supplier Charter that is systematically incorporated into procurement agreements entered into with every supplier.

Every potential supplier has to undergo a social audit, the result of which is part of the selection process, in exactly the same as quality or the commercial terms and conditions are.

The process that Carrefour implements has several levels of checks:

  • Check by Carrefour teams: The teams in charge of identifying future suppliers carry out preliminary visual checks on working conditions. Team members in Asia have been trained to identify risk situations. They may also be based on the Good Factory Standard published by Carrefour, and a safety guide in English and Chinese as a reminder of legislation in force and of best practices.
  • An audit in line with the ICS (Social Clause Initiative) methodology before referencing: before issuing any order, an external company specialising in social auditing performs an exhaustive unannounced check of the factory's compliance with the ICS benchmarks (see below). This benchmarks, common to several French distributors, integrate the requirements contained in Carrefour’s Supplier Charter whose  fire safety section was enhanced in 2013 with the addition of several checkpoints.
  • Following the audit, only those suppliers attaining a satisfactory compliance level are referenced and permitted to produce Carrefour products.
  • ICS audit in the production process: By carrying out random checks, audits are conducted throughout the duration of the commercial relationship to ensure that social conditions continue to comply with the requirements contained in the Supplier Charter. In the event of non-compliance, a corrective action plan is agreed with the supplier and a follow-up audit is performed to check that it has been implemented,.
  • Specific audits and second assessments: Besides these checks and audits, Carrefour commissions specialist external companies to carry out checks on one-off issues. In 2013, Carrefour performed 146 fire safety audits in Asia (alarms, equipment operation, etc.) and 10 social audit quality controls. These second assessments gave rise to exchanges with auditing suppliers to improve the processes.

What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?

 The Carrefour group has always encouraged dialogue with stakeholders, both internal (trade union representatives) and external (local or international NGOs).

Carrefour has formed partnerships with organisations that enable the expertise of its own specialists to be contrasted with that of external experts. This collaboration takes on an operational nature. Experts from NGOs hold discussions with industry experts from Carrefour to come up with a new, long-term shared vision.

To that end, Carrefour has worked in partnership with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) since 1997.

This cooperation was formalised by establishing a common association, INFANS, that carries out specific human rights abuse prevention projects in partnership with local NGOs. In 2013, the FIDH partnership made a considerable contribution to the understanding of international issues posed by accidents in factories. It also led to the drafting of social compliance procurement rules.

In 2014, this partnership further evolved beyond assistance and involved defining and implementating the Carrefour action plan in order to enable the FIDH, via the setting up an independent legal organisation that it administered, to propose, for approval by the Carrefour Foundation Board of Directors, the funding of projects aimed at promoting respect for human rights in the supply chain and enhancing the action of NGOs and other affected local actors.

Dialogue with employee representatives

The agreement signed between Carrefour and UNI Global Union is the cornerstone of social dialogue within the Group. In particular, it commits the Carrefour Group promoting freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining in every country where it operates. This commitment was formalised both by establishing CICE, the European body dedicated to social dialogue, and through social dialogue held within the Group locally.

Providing an opportunity for dialogue and consultation, CICE allows social partners to have transparent exchanges with the Human Resources (HR) Department on a wide range of topics, including CSR and respect for human rights in the supply chain. CICE’s annual plenary meeting is devoted to any topic affecting the Group’s business, including HR and CSR.

Consulting our stakeholders on specific topics

Following its mapping of stakeholders in 2012, Carrefour reintroduced an opportunity for dialogue on CSR in 2013 in accordance with an ISO 26000-inspired method. The Group therefore fosters a consultation forum with the participation of its stakeholder representatives: NGOs, clients, scholars, public authority representatives, suppliers and investors. The goal is to provide opportunities for hearing different perspectives and enhance the exchange of information, and to identify pragmatic, effective actions.

Carrefour is also listening to its local stakeholders in their business areas. By doing so, it is able address targeted problems or explore specific actions in certain areas (the Tiruppur region in India, for example).

Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?

  • Health (including workplace health & safety, prevention of pollution)
  • Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
  • Forced labour and human trafficking (including in supply chains)
  • Freedom of association and trade union rights
  • Women
  • Children (including child labour)

Actions on 'other' issues

The Carrefour Group has identified seven fundamental principles included in the Supplier Charter. These principles give rise to the main monitoring points in supplier countries :

1.Prohibition of forced or compulsory labour.

2.Prohibition of child labour.

3.Respect for freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

4.Prohibition of any form of discrimination, harassment or physical or psychological violence.

5.Insurance that the necessary health and safety measures are taken .

6.Decent salaries, benefits and employment conditions for employees.

7.Insurance that working hours comply with international rules.

These principles are detailed in the contractual document signed by suppliers.

Social audits are performed taking into account these seven monitoring points and give rise to corrective action plans.

The effective implementation of corrective action plans is monitored by Carrefour’s teams and checked by a follow-up social audit.

Action plans may be supplemented by targeted actions with NGOs when a specific action appears to be necessary.

In 2013, the INFANS association (a Carrefour/FIDH partnership), in collaboration with the local NGO SAVE, launched an awareness programme for people living around factories in the Tiruppur region of southern India in order to let them know about workers’ rights.

How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?

Reference document and annual report [link]

Members of the Carrefour Group also attend international conferences and meetings to promote the convergence of applicable human rights rules and benchmarks.

What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?

Since 2010, Carrefour has had a Group Ethics Committee and Country Ethics Committees in every country where it operates. Their role it to monitor and assess the application of the principles contained in Carrefour’s Code of Business Conduct.

The Country Ethics Commitees are supported by business alert systems set up in most of the countries where the Group operates, in compliance with local rules.

These systems allow any conduct or situation contrary to Carrefour’s principles to be reported to the Country Ethics Committee from inside or outside the company. In the event of proven non-compliance, the Country Ethics Committee launches an in-depth enquiry and implements a corrective action plan.

In this task, the Carrefour Group is also supported by existing systems and collaborates with international organisations such as the National Contact Points (NCPs) or local NGOs in order to respond to grievances reported to them.

Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?

The Carrefour Group considers that respect for human rights is not a matter of competition and therefore takes part in initiatives that enable cooperation and the sharing of best practices among firms.

Since 1998, Carrefour has taken part in ICS, which brings together 20 distribution firms. ICS enables its members to share a code, a methodology and a single social audit database. Each member helps to build the database by incorporating the results obtained from social audits performed on its suppliers. Since the initiative began, Carrefour has supplied approximately 50% of the audits contained in the database. ICS is also a place for sharing and exchanging information on the practices and problems that members encounter in relation to respect for human rights in their supply chains.

In 2006, the Group and a three other international firms took part in the launch of the multi-stakeholder platform called Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP). Bringing together 34 major players from distribution and industry, this platform works to continuously improve employees’ conditions through the harmonisation of global standards and tools. The GSCP is thus behind not only the reference code developed from best practices, but also an audit methodology, auditor selection criteria, an environmental benchmark and an equivalence process. The objective of the latter is to avoid the duplication of social audits performed on production sites. The goal for 2015 is to continue working towards the convergence of methods.

In May 2013, Carrefour was one of the first French distributors to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.. This Accord has nearly 200 signatories, and its implementation in 2014 translated into inspections of building structures and fire safety, and the dissemination of a list of the more than 1,700 factories concerned. In 2014, every factory working with Carrefour was checked within the context of the Accord, and a specific organisation has been set up to carry out check follow-ups. A website enables the progress of the work done under this Accord to be monitored: [link].

Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.

In 2013, the Carrefour Group implemented a risk approach towards its supply chain in order to identify geographical areas requiring special monitoring. This indicative list, based on data supplied by Maplecroft, is shared with all stakeholders. It identifies those countries considered “at risk” on human rights issues. While it does not exclude those countries for which particular or unforeseen circumstances would require action, it allows teams to focus on business areas in which Carrefour’s procurement procedures must systematically incorporate checks on respect for human rights and for which particular monitoring is therefore required.

In 2014, Carrefour based its approach on the recommendations made in December 2013 by the French NCP after the Rana Plaza tragedy in order to enhance its monitoring measures beyond the requirements of social audits.

What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?

During his intervention at the OECD, Carrefour's General Secretary confirmed that compliance with the social conditions of production should not be a matter of competition. This stance, which guides Carrefour’s actions to respect human rights, led Carrefour to promote the development of international rules (UN) on the issue of business and human rights and the convergence of monitoring standards. This occurred in 2014 within the context of discussions held within the UN Human Rights Council. A single standard is crucial to enable the transition from firms’ systematic and necessary monitoring actions to providing their suppliers with assistance.

Carrefour understands that respect for Human rights cannot be a matter for individual firms. It requires dialogue and collaboration among competing firms and with NGOs, suppliers, trade unions, associations and governments in order to collectively make lasting improvements.