People in supply chains

We source own-brand products from over 50 countries and over 1,700 tier one supplier factories manufacture or assemble finished products for us.

It’s essential that every person in our supply chains, whether those who grow, pick and pack our products, or those who make them, are treated fairly and also appropriately rewarded for their work. Ensuring these high labour standards is no mean feat. We continually strive for transparency throughout our complex supply chains, identifying risks, and taking opportunities to positively impact the lives of all workers.


Our aim is to take a long-term view, working with suppliers across our supply chains forming mutually beneficial partnerships that encourage employee engagement and enhance worker conditions. We will continue to develop sophisticated supply chain programmes such as Better Jobs, to encourage better worker voice channels which in turn we hope will enhance working conditions. 

We will collaborate with experts and other retailers to push for industry change and increase our transparency on issues to push for higher standards of worker welfare.


Since 2015 we have followed the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to identify our highest risks. We work with NGOs, trade unions and industry experts to identify workers most at risk and tailor our ethical trade programme to address human rights abuses in the supply chain where it is most needed. We work with suppliers to develop their knowledge and skills so they can identify and address the human rights risks in their own businesses.


Better Jobs programme

Find out how we're promoting better jobs in John Lewis supply chains.

Jersey Royal Potatoes Waitrose

Tackling modern slavery

Read about our approach to tackling modern slavery.


Waitrose & Partners Foundation

The Foundation aims to improve the lives of those who grow or produce our products overseas.



Farmers and workers in our supply chains deserve a fair price for their work and benefit from good working conditions.



We are long standing members of the Ethical Trade Initiative. Our Responsible Sourcing Code of Practice reflects the ETI base code and international labour agreements and details what is expected of all our own-brand suppliers, including terms of pay and working conditions. We seek to build lasting relationships with our suppliers and are committed to upholding human rights throughout our product and services supply chain and only work with suppliers who share our values of fairness and respect for human rights and welfare. Where issues are found we work with our suppliers on remediation and offer them support, for example, as outlined in our Child Labour Remediation Best Practice guidance.

All tier one general merchandise supplier factories are monitored on how they are performing against our Responsible Sourcing Code of Practice (RSCOP) via an ethical audit. Tier one food and grocery supplier factories are put through an initial risk assessment before deciding on the appropriate level of monitoring to RSCOP.  This process alongside additional sources of information, such as in-country-risk assessments, provide a valuable snapshot of our supply chain working conditions and helps us tailor our ethical trade programmes to address issues in high risk sectors and regions. 

The suppliers we use for our indirect operations known as Goods Not For Resale (GNFR), cover products such as; IT hardware, hygiene materials, fork lift trucks and services such as; advertising, photography and temporary agency workers. The due diligence process for these suppliers includes verification via the Retail Supplier Qualification System (RSQS), including acceptance of RSCOP. We are also implementing independent third party site based audits, to assess the experience of agency temporary workers against RSCOP and where gaps are identified we will collaboratively address these with suppliers.

During 2021 we will introduce a new supplier lifecycle system to assist in the rigour to identify risks, mitigation and collaborative action plans for GNFR contracts.