Strengthening the ethical social approach

The Group supports the application of standardised and strict standards at national and international level. Involved since 2000 in France’s Initiative Clause Sociale (ICS) comprising 20 retailing banners, it also supports international initiatives such as the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) in its work to harmonise standards and its determination to eradicate forced labour.

Since 2002, the Casino Group has deployed a social ethics initiative for its suppliers in an effort to monitor and improve the social conditions in which its private-label products are manufactured. Managed by the Casino Group’s CSR department in association with the Purchasing departments, the initiative has been rolled out at the different entities and social ethics representatives have been appointed to support its implementation.

The Group’s social compliance system was reinforced in 2016 with the update of the Supplier Ethics Charter applicable within the Group’s supply chain. It reaffirms the Casino Group’s commitment to promoting responsible retailing and more specifically to:

  • banning all illegal practices in commercial relations and requiring compliance with applicable laws, principles, international and national standards and regulations in force, as well as the anti-corruption policy applied by the Group;
  • respecting human rights (prohibition of child labour, prohibition of forced labour, fight against discrimination and abuse, freedom of association, wages, etc.), and occupational safety;
  • favouring an approach that respects the environment, notably in terms of the optimised use of natural resources, waste management and the fight against pollution;
  • ensuring animal welfare and the five freedoms of animals as defined by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The Casino Group’s social compliance approach focuses on five areas.

Supplier Ethics Charter

The distribution and signing of the Supplier Ethics Charter is a key step in the process of approving factories making private-label products.

By signing the charter, suppliers recognise the primacy of the principles contained in the following documents:

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • international conventions on fundamental human rights;
  • fundamental international labour standards, as defined by the ILO Declaration;
  • other applicable international labour standards (ILO conventions).

The endorsement also implies that the supplier accepts inspections to verify compliance with these commitments in accordance with the conditions set out in the Casino Group “Supplier Compliance Programme Manual”.

Supplier Charter of Ethics

Annual social audit campaign

Based on a risk analysis, more than 300 production sites are audited by independent firms every year to check compliance with the requirements set out in the Supplier Ethics Charter.

Monitored by the Group CSR department, and in collaboration with the entities concerned and the Group’s purchasing organisations, the audits are implemented first in factories manufacturing high-risk product categories and based in countries considered most likely to present risks of violation of human rights and working standards. Regular audits are carried out, particularly in China, India and Bangladesh. The scope includes suppliers that import products directly, as well as those importing through agents.

The audits are carried out by specialised independent firms in accordance with the ICS standards. The Group may decide to terminate its relationship with a production site based on the rating received after an audit. The Group shares a common database for integrating and discussing the results of the audits performed in factories shared with banners belonging to ICS.

Of the 349 audits conducted in 2016, 79% were initial audits and 21% were follow-ups. 62% of plants audited by the Group were located in China, 8% in Bangladesh and 5% in India. An analysis of the results of ICS audits is published in the ICS Activity Report (

Support for suppliers

Audit reports are issued following audits of production sites. Where necessary, corrective action plans are also drawn up; non-compliant plants undertake to implement the relevant plan within a given timeframe. The Group’s local offices play an essential role in helping suppliers and their factories properly understand the Group’s expectations and the implementation of any corrective actions. Internal and external follow-up audits are performed to ensure that corrective action plans are properly implemented.

Awareness raising and training of purchasers

The CSR department organises regular awareness programmes to present the Ethics Charter to the purchasing teams, local offices and suppliers.

Across the Group as a whole, 89% of purchasers concerned were trained or had awareness raising on the new social compliance approach in 2016.

Other specific initiatives

In light of circumstances specific to Bangladesh, the Group continues to audit all tier-1 plants operating in that country on behalf of its apparel private labels, with stricter plant safety inspections and surprise audits systematically performed prior to inclusion on supplier panels. Although Casino had no connections with the Rana Plaza workshops, it pledged to uphold the Bangladesh “Accord on Fire and Building Safety” in July 2013, so as to support the collective and collaborative process initiated and to help improve safety conditions in factories. All workshops manufacturing goods for the Group fall within the scope of the Accord; as such, they have been all subject to audits and corrective action plans.