HomeGoods' vendor relationships are based on a mutual commitment to uphold the high ethical standards embodied in our Vendor Code of Conduct and vendor social compliance program. As a condition of conducting business with HomeGoods and as a means of self-certification, all merchandise vendors agree to comply with our Vendor Code of Conduct, which prohibits the use of any form of involuntary or forced labor, including labor obtained through slavery or human trafficking. Our Vendor Code of Conduct further requires that the goods our vendors sell to us have been manufactured in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
We contract with both independent auditors (including UL LLC and Intertek Group PLC) and other third parties (such as our buying agents) to conduct social compliance audits at factories for suppliers of products that we have designed, and to evaluate and address risks of forced labor, including slavery and human trafficking. We created our Global Social Compliance Manual, which is available in six languages and contains an audit procedure outline and factory evaluation checklist to help the affected factories better understand our Code and prepare for the audit process. The audits are conducted on an unannounced basis during specified time windows, and they are intended to verify the factories’ compliance with the standards contained in our Code, including our prohibition of involuntary or forced labor. Vendors are expected to cooperate fully with the audits and to provide the auditors with full access to their facilities, employees and documentation. The factory’s score on the initial audit determines how soon it will be re-assessed, according to a risk-based audit cycle we have developed. HomeGoods has procedures to take appropriate steps should we learn that a vendor is failing to meet our standards, including remediation, cancellation of purchase orders, and termination of our business relationship.
With respect to internal accountability, our Global Code of Conduct prohibits behavior that creates an intimidating or hostile work environment, and it requires Associates to obey all applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate, including wage and hour rules. In choosing third parties to work with, our Associates are obligated to select vendors who act with integrity and in a manner consistent with the ethical principles stated in our Code. We review reported concerns and take appropriate action depending on the nature and severity of the violation.
We provide biennial training for Associates and management involved in the development and buying of merchandise, as well as cyclical in-person training for our buying agents, certain vendors and their factory managers around the world. Among other things, this training provides guidance on recognizing and mitigating the risks of forced labor, slavery and human trafficking.
We believe that these efforts underscore to our vendors, buying agents, and Associates our commitment and seriousness of purpose with respect to the ethical sourcing of our products. For many more details, particularly concerning our audit and training processes, we invite you to explore the section of our website dedicated to our Vendor Social Compliance Program.