Responsible Sourcing

Responsible Sourcing Program Overview

Best Buy is a retailer and a manufacturer of private-label products. We partner with factories on the design, production and testing of these products, and we also partner with them to ensure they meet our expectations for safe workplaces where workers are treated fairly. Our Responsible Sourcing program was developed to adhere to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. Our company measures responsible sourcing risks in the supply chain on an ongoing basis.
All our supplier contracts require adherence to our Supplier Code of Conduct. Additionally, we engage with internal cross functional teams including sourcing, engineering and supply chain, to promote awareness of our program and deepen the integration of the work into all functions of our business.
Through our Responsible Sourcing program, we seek to mitigate risk, enhance our partnership with these private-label suppliers, and create value for all stakeholders. This program consists of a five-step process in which we work closely with our suppliers to manufacture quality products while ensuring workers are treated fairly in a safe environment.

1. Code introduction

Best Buy adopts the Responsible Business Association (RBA)’s Supplier Code of Conduct. The latest version, Version 8.0, went into effect on January 1, 2024. We adopted this new Code, which provided additional provisions for workers on topics like equal pay for equal work, reasonable accommodation for workers with disabilities, and tightened requirements for facilities in creating a comfortable, safe and appropriate work environment.

Overall, the Code establishes standards to ensure that working conditions in the industry supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that business operations are environmentally responsible and conducted ethically.

The Code is updated every three years by RBA to ensure its relevance to international norms and issues members may face in their supply chains. The Code review process is extensive and includes a thorough consultation process with members and stakeholders.

Before working with new suppliers, we provide an in-depth training on our code and program, including our expectations on critical risks such as human trafficking and forced labor.

2. Self-reporting

New suppliers are required to complete a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) in the supplier qualification process.

Existing suppliers assess their performance against the code by completing an annual SAQ. If priority concerns exist, further clarification will be conducted through remote or on-site assessment.

3. Monitoring

Once a supplier is chosen, we work cooperatively with each supplier through a process of capacity building that includes monitoring, training and addressing any identified non-conformances. This ensures ongoing and continuous improvement of working conditions within all our suppliers’ facilities throughout the duration of our business relationship with them.

We take a multi-pronged approach to monitoring suppliers based on risk to enable their adherence to code expectations in their own operations and in their next tier supply chain management:

  • Risk Assessments: We conduct overall supply chain risk mapping annually to identify priority due diligence efforts. For example, we understand that forced labor conditions are higher risk in some sourcing regions, especially related to foreign migrant and other vulnerable workers.. We then apply increased due diligence for those suppliers accordingly.
  • Audits: We conduct third-party audits at 100% of our potential supplier factories, which includes environmental and human rights screening criteria. If we identify any issues not in conformance with our code, we require the supplier to take corrective action. If there is a priority non-conformance violation found, it must be addressed immediately. Suppliers that are unwilling or unable to address priority violations are rejected.
    • For existing suppliers, Best Buy conducts a full audit at least every other year to identify any gaps between suppliers’ performance and the code. We align our own audit protocol to that of RBA which are conducted by firms and auditors who have been trained and approved by the RBA. We also accept other approved third-party audits. Our audits include management and worker interviews, document review, and visits to all structures on the factory premises, including warehouses, dormitories and canteens. We not only assess their social and environmental performance, but we also review the management systems they have in place.
  • Corrective Action and Remedy: Once a gap is identified between the Code and the factory management system, it is referred to as a non-conformance, and corrective action is required to remedy the issue within the required timeframe.
    • We provide established guidelines for suppliers to take corrective action and remedy.
    • We monitor corrective action and remediation progress and require evidence of the remediations.
    • For the most severe findings, we require a third-party on-site assessment to verify and confirm the remediation and corrective actions.
  • Responsible sourcing integration in business decisions: Business impacts occur if priority non-conformances are discovered during an audit.
Non-Conformance Violations

When a non-conformance violation is discovered, we classify it by severity:

  • Priority non-conformance is the highest-severity audit assessment finding, requiring escalation by the auditor and immediate attention by the supplier. Priority non-conformance consists of findings that represent:
    • A serious non-conformance of the RBA code or applicable legal requirements;
    • An immediate threat to life or health; or
    • Risk of serious and immediate harm to the community or environment.
  • The identification of any priority non-conformance (such as forced labor) automatically results in a failed audit. Suppliers must take immediate action to remedy all priority non-conformances through the priority non-conformance remediation process. If the factory is unable or unwilling to address the priority non-conformance, we will terminate the relationship.
  • High-risk major non-conformance is a significant failure in the management system that affects the ability of the system to produce the desired results and/or satisfy legally mandated requirements. Two high-risk warnings for the same non-conformance finding within a single year is considered the equivalent of a priority non-conformance.
  • Major non-conformance is a significant failure in the management system that affects the ability to produce the desired results.
  • Minor non-conformance is an isolated or random incident which, by itself, does not indicate an inherent problem with the management system.

For all types of non-conformances, we follow up to determine if violations — whether priority, high-risk major, major or minor — are resolved. All instances of nonconformance require a corrective action plan, which we approve and monitor.

CAP Closure

We believe continued dialogue with suppliers results in more meaningful improvements for supply chain workers, promotes healthy and safe working conditions, and reduces negative environmental impacts.

Therefore, whenever non-conformances are found during an audit, we expect our suppliers to identify the root cause of the issues and indicate how they intend to improve the issue and measure progress. The suppliers then must close the non-conformances according to Best Buy’s timelines and provide the supporting evidence. Due to the nature of issues related to working hours and social insurance, we allow factories to provide longer-term risk mitigation plans with phased targets, maintaining continuous dialogue to foster transparency and accountability.

While we recognize the time and effort it takes suppliers to address non-conformances, we believe we can make a stronger impact on remediation efforts by implementing a monitoring mechanism. We require an additional third-party audit if the supplier does not submit a CAP or if they do not remediate the non-conformance within the reasonable timeframe allowed.

4. Capacity Building and Communication

We are committed to transparency with our suppliers on our priorities, our monitoring approaches, audit assessment steps, code requirements, key elements of a supply chain sustainability management system, and the steps to improve their adherence to our requirements. We host our annual supplier meeting and leverage virtual trainings to deliver this content and deepen our relationship and engagement with our suppliers. We frequently leverage RBA’s training resources available to all suppliers to improve factory performance.

In addition to our private label suppliers, we train our internal private label teams including product managers, sourcing and the leadership team.

5. Reporting

Each year we publicly disclose our suppliers’ compliance against our Code of Conduct in our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, which can be found in our Resource Library.