Best Buy was the top-rated retailer in a new assessment of the supply chain practices at the largest global information and communications technology (ICT) brands.
We also ranked 10th overall among the 49 companies included in KnowTheChain’s 2020 ICT Benchmark. KnowTheChain is a nonprofit that serves as a resource for companies and investors to understand and address the risks of forced labor in global supply chains.
Best Buy scored 52 out of 100, well above the average score of 30.
“While we are pleased with our performance in KnowTheChain’s benchmarking, we continue to look for opportunities to drive program improvements that will enhance our ability to detect, address and prevent forced labor in our supply chain,” said Hamlin Metzger, director of corporate responsibility.
Best Buy partners with approximately 190 factories to produce our private-label products. Many of these factories are located in high-risk areas for human trafficking and forced labor in Southeast Asia.
Through our Responsible Supply Chain program, we partner with suppliers to ensure they meet our expectations for safe workplaces where workers are treated fairly. We are also active members of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), which allows us to collaborate with many of the brands we sell. Collectively, we embrace a common Supplier Code of Conduct and audit methodology, which are aimed at improving working conditions in the supply chain.
At Best Buy, we are focused on protecting vulnerable worker populations such as student workers and foreign migrant workers (those who travel temporarily from their home country for employment) in our supply chain.
Before working with new suppliers, we provide an in-depth training on our code and program, which includes critical risks such as human trafficking and forced labor. We also conduct a third-party audit of their facilities. We continue to assess, train and audit our suppliers throughout our relationship.
Our audit program looks for specific practices that may indicate forced labor, including:
- Withholding travel documents;
- Charging workers recruitment fees; and
- Lack of direct payment to workers.
If any of these practices are identified, the supplier must take immediate action to remedy the violation. Suppliers that are unwilling or unable to address such violations are rejected or terminated.
As an example, it is a common practice for foreign migrant workers to pay recruitment fees, which can total up to a year’s worth of income, to land a job at a factory. This is against our Supplier Code of Conduct and has been a focus area for our program.
Over the past three years, we have overseen the reimbursement of more than $500,000 in recruitment fees charged to workers in just a few factories. We also developed a foreign migrant worker toolkit to give suppliers additional guidance on this complicated topic and assess their compliance with the code.
Click here for more details on Best Buy’s corporate responsibility work.