Improving conditions for workers and Ethical Sourcing Program effectiveness at Officeworks

Improving conditions for workers and Ethical Sourcing Program effectiveness at Officeworks

Officeworks is committed to upholding and respecting human rights within its own operations, throughout its supply chain and for its customers. 

As a leading retailer of stationery, technology and educational supplies in Australia, Officeworks’ Ethical Sourcing Program continues to evolve in line with industry developments and is guided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which highlights the responsibility of businesses to uphold and respect human rights within their operations.  

All suppliers of goods and services must adhere to Officeworks’ Ethical Sourcing and Modern Slavery Policy, which outlines the minimum standards required to work with Officeworks. To date, Officeworks has mapped more than 28,400 products to the primary site of manufacturing, with 1,111 manufacturers involved in its ethical sourcing audit program. 

As part of its People and Planet Positive commitment to work towards eradicating modern slavery, Officeworks works collaboratively with all suppliers, including goods purchased as part of its operations and their factories to identify and mitigate risks of modern slavery in its supply chain. This includes either providing evidence to demonstrate there is already a social compliance auditing program in place, disclosing the manufacturing site of their products, completing self-assessment questionnaires to assess risk, and completing independent audits when requested. 

In the 2023 financial year, 626 audits were reviewed and 940 major non-conformances were remediated, resulting in 168 factories improving their factory rating. 

The program extends to service providers who are assessed for brand risk according to the service provided and management of ethical and responsible sourcing risks. Service providers that were identified as medium-high risk were asked to complete Officeworks’ services risk assessment questionnaire and close out any high-risk findings or conduct an audit if required.  

Since 2021, Officeworks has been a member of the Cleaning Accountability Framework, a multi-stakeholder organisation that exists to end exploitation and improve labour standards within the cleaning industry. As part of its commitment in this space, in the 2023 financial year, third-party social compliance audits on cleaning and security guards were conducted, with all findings either remediated or currently being remediated.  

As a result of this audit program, 284 factories remediated 940 major non-conformances identified by Officeworks. The remediations improved working conditions for more than 64,623 workers in 15 countries.  

Officeworks’ Ethical Sourcing Program continues to mature and it remains focused on working with its suppliers to develop long-term relationships and embed its Ethical Sourcing and Modern Slavery Policy requirements. Due to a focus over the past five years in its private label supply chain, Officeworks has seen demonstrable improvement in social compliance levels and a decrease in the number of critical breaches at private label sites as outlined in the graph below.  

Looking forward, Officeworks continues to address emerging risks, with the aim of further transparency throughout its supply chain as well as taking meaningful action and enabling positive change for workers in its supply chain. 

Number of critical breaches identified over the last six years:  

      FY2018   FY2019   F2020   F2021   F2022   F2023  
Private label   23   20   9   4   0   0  
National brand   48   58   29   48   71   56 
Goods not for resale   2   1   0   0   8  
Service provider   3   0   2   0   0   0  
Total   76   79   40   52   79   57