Sara Lee Corporation, Supplier Selection Guidelines

Sara Lee Corporation, an enterprise which originally developed in the food sector, has diversified its activities and the apparel and accessories sector now accounts for a large share of its turnover. The personal products department, which includes a number of internationally known brands (including Hanes, Wonderbra, Dim, Champion, Playtex, Coach), achieved a turnover of 7.2 thousand million dollars in 1995, with a record level of profits of 658 million dollars, i.e. an increase of 18 per cent over the previous year. In the personal products sector, Sara Lee has focused its development strategy on the image of the different brands which the group controls and which it has tried to enhance through diversified promotional campaigns (the Champion trademark, for example, obtained an exclusivity contract for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta), whilst at the same time developing an ethical approach through the adoption of two codes of conduct. The first establishes the global production principles applicable to the group's operational units, while the second contains criteria for the selection of suppliers and subcontractors.

The global operating principles refer to a number of specific measures which are included in a separate column in the following table in order to distinguish them from the theoretical principles.

Sara Lee: Synoptic table of codes of conduct

Sara Lee Corporation Global Operating Principles for its Operating Units
Specific measures
Supplier's Selection Guidelines
Child labour
Minimum age: 16 years (for activities on the United States territory).

-- In accordance with local/national legislation

-- Minimum Sara Lee standards:

-- minimum age: 15 years;

-- not below the legal employment age defined by national legislation.

Forced labour

No account taken of the personal characteristics and beliefs during recruitment.

No account taken of personal characteristics and beliefs in the recruitment of an employee.
Safety and health
Search for high safety and health standards.
Specific training programmes concerning safety measures and the use of the necessary equipment.
The business partner must have a sense of social responsibility concerning the health and safety of employees at the workplace and their place of residence if provided by the employer.

Sara Lee will not do business with suppliers who use any type of corporal punishment or other forms of mental or physical coercion.
Recruitment and training
Employment and employee training and development: Sara Lee's goal is to create an environment that attracts and retains the best, brightest and most talented individuals and to provide an environment that empowers each employee to reach his or her full potential.
Implementation of recruitment and training programmes within the enterprise.

Hours of work
In accordance with local regulations.

In accordance with national laws and standards.
Wages and remuneration
-- Fair;

-- as a minimum:

local industrial standards.

Open, honest and fair communication.

Exception: confidential nature of personal information and information of critical importance to the enterprise.

Ethical practice
Ethical practices:

-- honesty;

-- integrity;

-- fair dealing;

-- conformity with high ethical standards;

-- refusal to condone legal payments;

-- not to engage in ethically questionable practices.

Application of high ethical standards.
Responsibility of a global enterprise

Community relations

Corporate contributions

Participate in the social/economic development of the community in which the enterprise exercises its activities.

Contribute to the betterment of the community in which the enterprise operates with a view to improving employees' working environment and quality of life.

Financial support for social projects: schools, orphanages, libraries, creches, drug and poverty prevention programmes.

Special programme for youth: preventing drug dependency, programmes to promote health, welfare and education; emphasis placed on family life, culture and the arts.

Legal requirements
In accordance with local regulations.

In accordance with local regulations.
In accordance with all the applicable laws, regulations and standards.

In accordance with national environmental standards.
1 Suppliers: defined as subcontractors; joint venture partners and the suppliers of goods and services, including raw materials.

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