Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Rapid growth puts BSCI in pole position

October 2010

The Belgium-based Business for Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) has proclaimed itself the world’s largest ethical supply chain programme, having recruited more than 200 members since the start of 2009.

BSCI added 176 members in 2009, taking its count to 430 – and has gained another 120 so far this year, raising the total to 550.

It claims this makes it ‘the biggest initiative of its kind’ and a leading force in the field after only six years of existence. By contrast, the 22-year-old UK-based Ethical Trading Initiative has 53 corporate members – although many are larger companies with more extensive supply chains.

BSCI’s mainly continental European membership is dominated by retailers, including Esprit (Germany), Kesko (Finland), Lidl (Germany), Royal Ahold (Netherlands), Santens (Belgium) and Superdrug (UK). All agree to observe a base code of conduct, against which they audit their supply chains.

Total BSCI income from membership and auditing for 2009 rose to €2.4million ($3.1m, £1.9m), compared with the ETI’s £1.3m ($2m, €1.6m) in 2008-09. BSCI members have a collective turnover of €300billion.

Since it started, BSCI, formed by the Brussels-based Foreign Trade Association, has carried out more than 15,000 audits to assess suppliers’ performance against its code of conduct, covering more than four million workers.

It reports that suppliers’ performance began to improve significantly last year, when the number of non-compliant factories and farms fell from 68 to 34 per cent. BSCI claims this is partly due to increased resources, including training last year for more than 2000 suppliers.

Business Social Compliance Initiative | Europe | Research

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