Officeworks - Ethical sourcing


Officeworks sells thousands of products that originate from around the world and are created by many different people. These supply chains are complex, with products or components often being manufactured in countries where laws designed to protect workers’ rights are not sufficient or adequately enforced. Officeworks believes all workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment and taking care of employees is better for people and the businesses they work for. 

Officeworks has a well-established ethical sourcing program that all suppliers of goods and services are required to comply with. This program is designed to protect and uphold workers’ rights and reassure Officeworks’ customers those products are sourced ethically. This year, Officeworks audited 423 factories and worked with suppliers to resolve 33 critical breaches.  

Officeworks understands relying on audits alone does not necessarily provide the full picture of working conditions and employee concerns, which is why it has complemented a risk-based, audit-centric approach with an outcome-focused program aimed at improving worker wellbeing and engagement within its direct supply chain.  

This year, Officeworks reviewed results from worker voice surveys arranged to enable employee voices to be better heard and more often. This involved 949 workers at six factories completing surveys to share their concerns. Through this process, Officeworks identified issues such as deficient internal grievance channels, poor relationships with supervisors, workers not understanding their pay and workers wanting to work less or more hours. Using this information, Officeworks was able to work with the management teams so they could take appropriate action to embed positive change. In many cases, this involved additional training or investing in new machinery to reduce excessive working hours. 

Following the initial surveys and the initiatives implemented, Officeworks conducted follow-up surveys and was pleased to see an improvement in worker satisfaction of 18 per cent. Through this program, Officeworks has enabled positive change for the 1,876 workers that work at the six factories involved in these surveys throughout the 2021 financial year. 

As this program continues to evolve, Officeworks will work closely with its suppliers to focus not only on identifying risks, but creating real, positive impacts on workers' lives. Officeworks will share the insights it has gained with more suppliers and encourage them to take more action based on their workers’ feedback, ultimately to provide better conditions for workers and better outcomes for their business.