Social compliance deals with "the health and human services of the workers who produce your goods," says Parker. Her job is to travel to factories and ensure that the workers making product for Kenmark are being well cared for.
Kenmark provides licenses that dictate social requirements. In addition, its customers have their own criteria for supply-chain compliance. Any product found to have originated from an unauthorized supplier must be pulled from the line and destroyed. “It’s incredibly important to have a good recovery and contingency plan, when dealing with social compliance and product being made overseas,” Parker says.
She monitors factory conditions through twice-yearly visits to the factories. In addition, a third-party audit firm reviews documents and personnel records, and conducts interviews with employees in order to overcome language barriers.
The evaluations are in-depth, and often done undercover. Kenmark maintains its own regulatory-compliance platform, as well as adhering to those of its customers.
The exercise includes a detailed supplier code of conduct, which is enforced by occasional unannounced visits to the factories. “One of the worst things that can happen is if a supplier refuses admittance,” Parker says. “It means they have something to hide. We want them to be above-board and ethical.”
A disconnect with errant suppliers might occur because they’re not on site at the factories, she says. “If you’re personally involved, and there to review on site, you know.
“It’s corporate social responsibility,” Park adds. “You have to maintain a very engaged and open line of communication, and let them know you won’t tolerate anything outside the requirements.”
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