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Ethical code of conduct

At Girlguiding we set high standards for ourselves and our suppliers – we want you to rest assured that we work in ways to ensure our impact on people and the planet is as positive as possible and that anyone working within our supply chain is treated fairly and respectfully.


We support all employee’s human rights

Girlguiding Trading Service 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
  • The International Labour Organisation Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

  • The Ethical Trade Initiative Base Code

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

  • General principle
  • Discrimination
  • Employment is freely chosen
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
  • 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). Suppliers/manufacturers will have an appropriate written reporting system in place to show compliance for monitoring on a regular basis.

Girlguiding will not use any suppliers who are not prepared to implement/maintain this code of conduct and maintain appropriate records to confirm it has been followed. These records should be made available to Girlguiding on request.

General principle

Operate within their country’s laws and with all other applicable rules and regulations including those relating to labour, employee health and safety and the environment.


There should be no unfair discrimination in relation to hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation of employees.

Employment is freely chosen

Suppliers/manufacturers must not use any forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour.

Workers are not required to lodge “deposits” or their identity papers with their employer and are free to leave their employer after reasonable notice.

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 is strictly prohibited.

Child labour

Child Labour Shall not be used. Our stance on child labour is aligned with the ILO standards.

There shall be no new recruitment of child labour. Suppliers/manufacturers will 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 for them to attend and remain in quality education until they are no longer a child.
Children and young persons under 18 will not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.
Factories will maintain an official documentation system to monitor and verify individual employee’s date of birth.

Wages and working hours

Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week will be consistent with industry local/national legal standards or industry benchmarks. Wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.

Employees will be given clear written information about their wages.

Deduction for wages as a disciplinary measure is not permitted.
Working hours must comply with national law.

Contractual hours will not exceed 48 hours per week.
Overtime will be voluntary and not exceed 12 hours per week.
Overtime will not be demanded on a regular basis and will always be compensated at a premium rate of pay.
Employees will be given at least one day off in every seven-day period.

Regular employment should be provided to all where possible.


A safe and hygienic working environment must be provided that can comply with all applicable environmental laws, legislation and regulations.
Have systems in place for identifying hazardous or toxic waste manufactured or used.
Have procedures in place to ensure that hazardous or toxic waste is disposed of correctly by appropriate, competent bodies via authorised disposal routes.

Working conditions

Must comply with all applicable local/national laws and regulations for healthy and safe working conditions. A safe and hygienic working environment will be provided at all times.
Adequate steps to prevent accidents and injury arising directly or indirectly by employees at work by minimising (so far as is reasonably practical) the causes of hazards essential in the working environment.
Employees will receive regular and recorded health and safety training, and such training will be repeated for all new or reassigned employees.
Employees will have access to clean toilet facilities and potable water and, if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage.
Accommodation, where provided, will be clean, safe and meet the basic needs of the employees.
The responsibility for observing and monitoring health and safety standards/issues will be assigned to a senior management representative.

Freedom of association and the rights to collective bargaining are respected

Employees have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.

The employer will have an open attitude towards the legitimate activities of trade unions.

Workers’ representatives will not experience discrimination and should be able to carry out their functions in the workplace.

Where the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted by law, the employer will facilitate, and not hinder, the development of similar means of independent and free association and bargaining.


Last updated: Jan 2024