We're determined to buy the products we need - to sell to customers and for our own use - in a responsible way. Consequently, we have developed product sourcing policies and ensure that our suppliers understand and comply with them. Find out more in our Policies section.
What we've done
Timber and paper sourcing
We stock timber and wood-based products sourced from certified or known and legal sources, or made from recycled material. We work with suppliers not meeting our minimum requirements to help ensure they do.
This year, 90.2% of our timber based products tracked via our Timber Tracker, were FSC® certified (39%) or from other certified (17.3%) or other known and legal sources (33.9%). All our Homebase garden furniture is FSC ® certified.
Both Argos and Homebase are members of the WWF-GFTN (World Wildlife Fund - Global Forest Trade Network).More detailed information regarding the forest product data is now available please click the following links to look at the information for Argos and Homebase.
Find out more about our work with WWF to improve performance in our timber supply chain.
Last year we printed all our publications, including the Argos catalogue, on recycled paper or paper from forests certified as well-managed by the FSC ® (Forest Stewardship Council) or the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). All our publications can be recycled after use. The Argos catalogue is PEFC certified, demonstrating for us full chain of custody traceability throughout our supply chain.
'Home Retail Group has demonstrated its commitment to Chain of Custody Certification by implementing a robust set of of internal procedures to ensure publication papers are certified in accordance with the FSC and PEFC Chain of Custody standards. A copy of Home Retail Group Chain of Custody manual is available on request. Please contact Matthew Willis at Home Retail Group on 01908 296301.'
Use of natural resources
We recognise that the uncontrolled sourcing of animal products, plant species, minerals and growing media (earth and compost) can have serious effects on local eco-systems.
Read our policy.
The Governments Natural Environment White Paper set a voluntary target of providing completely peat free growing media for the amateur market by 2020 and completely peat free media for the professional market by 2030.
We are full members of the Growing Media Initiative (GMI) and active members of the Government's Sustainable Growing Media Task Force, which has been formed from retailers, growing media manufacturers, professional growers and NGO’s to establish the key drivers behind the peat free target and the steps to achieve this.
This year the total peat free content of the growing media purchased by our customers increased to 60%.
Chemicals are used widely within all the products that we sell. It is of the utmost importance that we ensure that the products we sell comply with the applicable legislation. Home Retail has a programme in place that ensures we comply with the requirements of REACH directive (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemical Substances).
Home Retail Group also participates in the British Retail Consortium Chemicals Working Group.
A responsible business cannot work in isolation from the communities from which it sources or manufactures products. We have an obligation to encourage high ethical standards and build successful partnerships with our suppliers to drive improvements in productivity and benefit people working in our supply chains. Consequently, we regularly audit factories that manufacture our direct sourced or imported products and we work with them to improve ethical standards.
What we’ve done
For many years we have made it standard practice to audit our supplier factories against our ethical standards. Once again this year 100% of Argos and Homebase Direct Import and Direct Source factories (those where we buy the products directly from overseas manufacturers) have a valid audit.
We are also encouraging our suppliers to use SEDEX – a global platform allowing manufacturers to share audit data with more than one customer. SEDEX offers benefits for the suppliers, who need to complete only one audit which they can share multiple times. It also offers benefits for the retailers who can be confident of a high-quality audit methodology and who can benefit from SEDEX’s advanced analysis tools.
An audit, whether reported through SEDEX or directly, often results in a list of corrective actions – things that the supplier agrees to remedy. Often these are relatively minor, for example the need to keep better records, or to improve the tidiness of a site. In these cases we would ask the supplier to fix the problem, and would check at our next audit that it has been done. Some non-compliances have a direct and immediate bearing on the working conditions in the factory and we have defined a list of critical non-compliances, which are failings that the supplier must put right immediately as part of our doing business with them. These are always followed up with a re-audit within 30 days. All our critical non-compliances last year were resolved in this way.
We have analysed the audit reports available to us to look for patterns or trends in the data we receive. We notice that certain non-compliances are very much more common than others with 90% of recorded non-compliances falling into one of five categories; chemicals, working hours, wages and benefits, worker health or fire safety.
Our animal welfare policy covers wider issues, including animal cruelty during production, compliance with animal welfare standards and the level of pain or distress caused by products used to control pest infestations.
All Argos own-brand cosmetics comply with the Humane Cosmetics Standard, an internationally recognised scheme run by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
Argos is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and in December 2011 gained certification against the RJC Codes of Practice . The council works with the jewellery industry to promote the ethical sourcing of gold and diamonds and we encourage our jewellery suppliers to join.
We support the aims of the No Dirty Gold campaign, as set out in their ‘Golden Rules’ recognising that the achievement of these aims will require not just action from retailers but a level of reform and traceability throughout the jewellery industry.
Socially acceptable products
We've developed guidelines that help us identify, understand and respond to sensitivities related to the sale of socially unacceptable products. Public opinion about what is or isn't acceptable can change rapidly so we review these guidelines regularly. Read our guidelines on socially acceptable products.