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Sustainability program and ethics policy


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BattleDax

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 09:35 PM

Hello All,

 

         Maybe this is not the place for this, but I have been receiving a increased amount of request for both Sustainability program and an ethics  policy. I checked SQF and BRC and I don't see that either are addressed. Can anyone provide some guidance as to how how to start either? Thanks in advance.



AltonBrownFanClub

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 09:57 PM

I would start by taking an inventory of what you are already doing. 
For example, do you recycle cardboard, plastic, glass, etc? Do you provide waste/returns to pet food manufacturers? 
High efficiency lights?

 

Then I would move on to the suppliers you do business with. For our company, all fish is purchased from sustainable sources. That could be mentioned.

I don't think these policies need to be written in a specific format. I would use a company letterhead and summarize the efforts you're making and possibly some goals for the future.

Hope this helps



BattleDax

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 09:34 PM

Thanks ! Any insight to ethics? We are getting request for "ethics with consideration of bribery and economically motivated schemes"



AltonBrownFanClub

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 09:55 PM

Hmm... maybe something about substitution/ omission of expensive ingredients? You could mention what you are doing to mitigate this such as asking transporters to sign a contract. Or maybe locking trailers with numbered seals that you provide to the receiving end. There may be some Food Defense crossovers that would be helpful. 



pHruit

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 08:18 AM

Thanks ! Any insight to ethics? We are getting request for "ethics with consideration of bribery and economically motivated schemes"

It sounds like you're getting a veritable mix of confused requests - not unusual, as it's possibly the case that your customers have customers (or PR people ;) ) who feel that they should be doing something about these things as there is increased consumer interest, without necessarily understanding what they're really asking for. This position definitely doesn't make it any easier for you to answer them!

IMO this is very much one of those areas that gets dropped onto QA/technical people even though it has at best a very limited amount to do with our actual job roles...

 

I'd suggest breaking this down into perhaps three chunks:

 

Supply chain ethics - have a look at e.g. the ETI Base Code (https://www.ethicalt...g/eti-base-code). This is an internationally recognised "minimum" level for basic ethics in the supply chain, so a simple initial policy could be checking and stating that you comply with this, and doing the same for your supply chain. If you want to go a bit further with this then you could have a look at Sedex: https://www.sedex.com/- I don't know how popular this is in the US, but it's fairly prominent over here, and indeed membership is a prerequisite for supplying quite a few food businesses these days. Similar(ish) but slightly different alternative would be e.g. BSCi: https://www.amfori.o...ent/amfori-bsci

 

Personnel/business ethics (bribery, conflict of interest etc) - This one is very much about how individual people act, and I'd firmly pass this one over to your colleagues in HR ;) (If not already in place, they may want to look at e.g. some basic training, a Code of Conduct that all staff sign up to etc).

 

Sustainability - This one can be as big a task as you would like!

Basic starting point, as suggested above, would be a quick summary of things you're already doing - recycling, managing energy/water/resource use, minimising waste etc., as an "informal" policy. Next step up will be trying to measure some of this, setting and reporting on improvement targets, formalising more. Beyond that you can go as far as you want - ISO14001/ISO50001 for your own site, getting your supply chain involved, measuring and improving carbon footprint / water footprint, factory modifications to minimise energy/water use and waste generation, packaging revision to utilise fewer resources per unit product, installation of waste-from-energy systems etc etc.



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Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 02:04 PM

I typically ask the customer to send an example of the requirements they are requesting to see if we qualify, then create a document outlining their requirements. That way there's no question whether we're covering the specifications. Usually these requests (for us) come with a document to review and sign which makes it pretty simple as long as we actually meet all of the requirements.



BattleDax

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Posted 08 October 2021 - 04:04 PM

It sounds like you're getting a veritable mix of confused requests - not unusual, as it's possibly the case that your customers have customers (or PR people ;) ) who feel that they should be doing something about these things as there is increased consumer interest, without necessarily understanding what they're really asking for. This position definitely doesn't make it any easier for you to answer them!

IMO this is very much one of those areas that gets dropped onto QA/technical people even though it has at best a very limited amount to do with our actual job roles...

 

I'd suggest breaking this down into perhaps three chunks:

 

Supply chain ethics - have a look at e.g. the ETI Base Code (https://www.ethicalt...g/eti-base-code). This is an internationally recognised "minimum" level for basic ethics in the supply chain, so a simple initial policy could be checking and stating that you comply with this, and doing the same for your supply chain. If you want to go a bit further with this then you could have a look at Sedex: https://www.sedex.com/- I don't know how popular this is in the US, but it's fairly prominent over here, and indeed membership is a prerequisite for supplying quite a few food businesses these days. Similar(ish) but slightly different alternative would be e.g. BSCi: https://www.amfori.o...ent/amfori-bsci

 

Personnel/business ethics (bribery, conflict of interest etc) - This one is very much about how individual people act, and I'd firmly pass this one over to your colleagues in HR ;) (If not already in place, they may want to look at e.g. some basic training, a Code of Conduct that all staff sign up to etc).

 

Sustainability - This one can be as big a task as you would like!

Basic starting point, as suggested above, would be a quick summary of things you're already doing - recycling, managing energy/water/resource use, minimising waste etc., as an "informal" policy. Next step up will be trying to measure some of this, setting and reporting on improvement targets, formalising more. Beyond that you can go as far as you want - ISO14001/ISO50001 for your own site, getting your supply chain involved, measuring and improving carbon footprint / water footprint, factory modifications to minimise energy/water use and waste generation, packaging revision to utilise fewer resources per unit product, installation of waste-from-energy systems etc etc.

 

Hello pHruit,

 

We do use sedex. Do we just mention we have been audited and  are members of Sedex?  They do not issue a grade or certificate, so what do I quote as adherence?

 

Thanks



pHruit

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Posted 08 October 2021 - 04:40 PM

Hello pHruit,

 

We do use sedex. Do we just mention we have been audited and  are members of Sedex?  They do not issue a grade or certificate, so what do I quote as adherence?

 

Thanks

Sedex should cover the ethical bit for most people IMEX. If you've had a full SMETA audit then your auditing body should be able to give you some sort of official written confirmation that you can share with customers. Otherwise, for online Sedex membership, part of the purpose is that the customer can assess you against their own requirements and determine their grade of your business based on your data - the efficiency comes from not having to fill this out separately every time for every single customer. Normally I'd simply state that you are Sedex members with membership number xxxxxxx, and ask if they would like you to link to them.

Generally this covers all but the most OTT of ethical info requests, at least over here in the UK.



Melissa C

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Posted 11 October 2021 - 04:10 AM

The ethical policy you may include different aspects: 

 

1. Local legal regulations - business registration, taxation, etc. 

2. HR - following the labour law (working hours, salary, benefits & compensation) 

3. Internal & external - anti-bribery policy, no gift policy, etc. 

4. Safety - how you ensure the safety of the employees and the environment

 

Hope it helps. 






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