John Lewis makes major move on supplier engagement

Aug 4, 2020
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Department stores chain John Lewis has announced that, “following a successful trial”, it’s rolling out a new “progressive supplier engagement programme” called Better Jobs to all of its 120 UK manufacturing suppliers. 

Photo: Sandra Halliday

It replaces traditional ethical audits, and aims to create “more rewarding and enriching jobs for the people who make John Lewis own brand products”.

There are two parts to the programme: a framework that “helps suppliers think about the ways they support, engage and reward their employees, and an employee survey”.  

The suppliers invited to take part have longstanding relationships with the retailer, and have already undergone forensic-style audits “to confirm that they comply with laws on employment and human rights, and health and safety”. 

This year, the company will also start to trial the programme with 15 suppliers in China using a mobile app to communicate directly with suppliers’ employees. 

Nadia Youds, Partner and Social Impact Manager said: “The Better Jobs Programme was set up following discussions with suppliers about how the Partnership could support them with the challenges they face such as recruiting skilled people, future-proofing their industry and being more innovative. We wanted to support them to go beyond just meeting the law through ‘tick box’ audits which suppliers said they found restrictive.”

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