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Ethical code of conduct

Girlguiding respects the human rights of all employees (employed directly or by our suppliers/manufacturers):

  • by supporting the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • by supporting the International Labour Organisation Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. 

We require all our suppliers/manufacturers to support and adhere to the following principles:

  • General principle
  • Discrimination 
  • Forced labour 
  • Disciplinary practices 
  • Child labour 
  • Wages and working hours 
  • Environment 
  • Working conditions 
  • Freedom of association and the rights to collective bargaining are respected

Girlguiding requires suppliers/manufacturers to implement/support this ethical code of conduct (or have in place an equivalent ethical code of conduct equal to or better than) and have an appropriate written reporting system in place enabling adherence compliance to be monitored with some regularity.

Monitoring audits can form part of supplier’s own six-monthly or annual factory visits and/or where agent’s services are used, incorporated as part of their function during regular factory visits.

Compliance reports will form part of the Girlguiding annual suppliers’ auditing process.

Girlguiding will not use any suppliers who are not prepared to implement/maintain this ethical code of conduct and maintain appropriate records/reports to confirm adherence and make available compliance reports to Girlguiding as and when requested.

General principle

Operate in full compliance with the laws of their respective countries and with all other applicable laws, rules and regulations including those relating to labour, employee health and safety and the environment.


There should be no unfair discrimination in hiring personnel or their employment conditions on any grounds

Forced labour

Must not use any forced, bonded or involuntary labour.

Disciplinary practices

No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed. Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment, and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation shall be strictly prohibited.

Child labour

Companies shall develop or participate in and contribute to policies and programmes which provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour to enable her/him to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child. Children and young persons under 18 shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.

Factories should maintain an official documentation system, which enables them to monitor/verify individual employee’s actual date of birth. 

The policies and procedures shall conform to the provisions of the relevant International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards. 

Wages and working hours

Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week should be consistent with industry local/national legal standards or industry benchmarks.

Employees should be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions in respect to wages.

Contractual hours do not exceed 48 hours per week. Overtime should be voluntary, should not exceed 12 hours per week, should not be demanded on a regular basis and should always be compensated at a premium rate.

Employees should be provided with at least one day off in every seven-day period.


Comply with all applicable environmental laws, legislation and regulations. Have systems in place for identifying hazardous or toxic waste manufactured or used. Have procedures to ensure that it is disposed of correctly by appropriate, competent bodies via authorised disposal routes with appropriate procedures for notifying local authorities in case of any accidental discharge or release or any other environmental emergency.

Working conditions

Should comply with all applicable local/national laws and regulations regarding healthy and safe working conditions. A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided at all times, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards.

Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with or occurring in the course of work by minimising, so far as is reasonably practical, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment. Employees shall receive regular and recorded health and safety training, and such training shall be repeated for all new or reassigned employees. Access to clean toilet facilities and potable water and, if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage shall be provided. Accommodation, where provided, shall be clean, safe and meet the basic needs of the employees. The responsibility for observing/monitoring health and safety standards/issues shall be assigned to a senior management representative. 

Freedom of association and the rights to collective bargaining are respected

Employees, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively. The employer should adopt an open attitude towards the legitimate activities of trade unions. Workers’ representatives are not to be discriminated against and should have access to carry out their representative functions in the work place. Where the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted under law, the employer should facilitate, and should not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.