Our Focus on Protecting Human Rights
We believe it's important to help improve global labor standards for producing the merchandise we contract to manufacture through Nordstrom Product Group, including apparel, footwear, jewelry, accessories and home products. We collaborate with many partners (factories, subcontractors, employees, and other manufacturer/retailers) to help ensure that our core business standards and all applicable laws regarding health, safety and fair workplaces are upheld.
Nordstrom Product Group represents a relatively small portion of Nordstrom's total merchandise offering and compared to other manufacturer/retailers who create similar items, Nordstrom Product Group is relatively small. In many cases, our merchandise is made via contracts at cut and sew factories, meaning that for many of our products we do not purchase or directly influence the buy of raw materials, yarns or components. Using fabrics or materials that are available through our factory partner means we may have limited opportunity to dictate or control how those items are manufactured, which makes our ability to influence change even more challenging. However, we have high standards and are persistent when it comes to enforcing those standards and our robust audit program (as previously mentioned) supports that effort.
Because Nordstrom Product Group represents a small portion of our merchandise offering, we also work closely with the branded vendors who provide the products offered in our stores - the majority of merchandise we offer - to ensure that they're producing their items in responsible and sustainable ways. We also find great value in joining with others to help drive influence and potential change through collaborative partnerships. Nordstrom is involved in efforts that address manufacturing issues, such as the Business for Social Responsibility's Apparel, Mills and Sundries Working Group and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
Conducting supplier training
For many years, we have conducted a comprehensive training program for the partners who produce our private-label merchandise. Each of our suppliers learns about the Nordstrom Code of Conduct, Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines, our Social Responsibility audit process, and the general Nordstrom compliance guidelines. We also provide partner training on issues such as worker retention, productivity and efficiency, the environment, and management systems.
MONITORING AND REMEDIATION
Our team takes routine audits of partners seriously and works to ensure that our Partnership Guidelines are followed. During an audit, we join with independent, third-party monitoring companies to review and assess physical surroundings, compensation, and working-hour documentation. We also gather input from workers and managers. New vendors are reviewed and compliance levels are assessed before we approve any facility for production of Nordstrom-labeled merchandise. Once the auditors have reported their findings, our program managers and partners work together to address any compliance issues.
Developing remediation plans
We believe compliance is an ongoing process—and we begin the process with an extensive assessment to identify potential labor, health and safety, and environmental issues. From these findings, we create a corrective action plan and assist our factory partners in addressing any challenges. Transparency and continuous improvement is our goal. We work hard to achieve that goal by tapping the expertise of factory management and taking into account operational realities.
We support factory remediation by partnering with leading industry organizations and consultants to provide in-depth training and planning for factory management to address complex compliance issues. Our team has addressed a broad range of remediation projects, including production and efficiency, wage improvement, overtime reduction, management systems and worker retention and safety. We focus on working with key suppliers who have demonstrated a commitment to transparency and continuous improvement.
If we are unable to successfully remediate any unethical and unlawful labor practices with a vendor, we consider terminating the business relationship. Ending our association with a manufacturer may occur if a vendor is unwilling to cooperate and make improvements.
SUPPLY CHAIN RESPONSIBILITY
California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (2012)
Nordstrom expects all of its business suppliers to comply with the applicable laws and regulations of the United States and those of the respective country of manufacture or exportation. Per the California Transparency Supply Chain Act (2012), below you will find disclosure of the efforts Nordstrom is taking to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from our direct supply chain.
Engagement in verification of product supply chains to evaluate and address risks of human trafficking and slavery
Nordstrom Internal Risk Department conducts annual risk assessments through internal audits to identify areas of potential risk in Nordstrom's direct supply chain. When potential risks are identified, a course of action is determined to best address them. In 2012, the risk assessment will include additional focus on monitoring for human trafficking and slavery risks within the supply chain.
Auditing of suppliers to evaluate compliance with company standards for trafficking and slavery in supply chains
On an annual basis, suppliers that produce Nordstrom private label goods agree to adhere to the Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines through confirmation and acknowledgement exercises. Also, Nordstrom audits and monitors suppliers that produce Nordstrom private label goods against the Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines and the suppliers' country labor laws through independent third party monitoring companies that conduct both unannounced and announced audits. In addition, for all suppliers, Purchase Order Terms and Agreements include statements regarding compliance standards against trafficking and slavery practices. By acceptance of each and every Purchase Order, our suppliers are confirming their understanding and agreement to the compliance standards.
Compliance with the laws regarding slavery and human trafficking of the country or countries in which they are doing business
All Nordstrom suppliers agree to adhere to the Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines, which includes language regarding human trafficking and slavery. The Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines incorporate local laws and are based upon international standards, such as International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations (UN) regulations. The Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines specifically state that all suppliers must adhere to both the guidelines and country labor laws, whichever is stricter. Nordstrom also includes similar requirements in its Purchase Order Terms and Conditions, Buying Agent Agreements, and other service agreements. Nordstrom sends periodic communications to suppliers making them aware of new laws or revisions to existing laws as appropriate, and posts relevant communications on the nordstromsupplier.com website, which all suppliers have access to review.
Maintenance of internal accountability standards and procedures for employees or contractors failing to meet company standards regarding slavery and trafficking
Nordstrom expects all employees and contractors to adhere to a code of conduct, which includes information related to our hiring practices. Human Resources is responsible for ensuring that all employees are aware of and adhere to the Code of Conduct, and addresses any incidences where an employee or contractor does not do so.
Training on human trafficking and slavery for company employees and management who have direct responsibility for supply chain management
All Nordstrom employees responsible for supply chain-related decisions are required to complete a training and assessment that ensures their knowledge of identifying and addressing human trafficking and slavery in Nordstrom direct supply chains. Further, Nordstrom conducts focused employee education in order to mitigate labor and compliance risks within our direct supply chain and will continue to raise their awareness of this issue through regular trainings, information posted on the company's internal websites, and communications sent to employees.
Current Stories:Read more about some of our efforts.
Creating Partnerships On the Ground
Nordstrom realizes that our goal to protect workers’ rights is most effective when we create relationships on the ground with factories and their employees.Read More
Manufacturer Spotlight: Casual Center
We look to work with vendors that share our commitment to quality products and see ethical business practices as an important factor in their business approach.Read More
Audits Hold Vendors to High Standards
Environmental Health and Safety audits are designed to spot and help address environmental practices at the factories that make our Nordstrom private-label products.Read More