Our Approach to Sourcing and Human Rights
Our commitment to corporate social responsibility extends to our supply chain and the vendors we work with throughout the world.
Ross requires that responsible business practices be upheld and human rights be respected throughout our supply chain.
Vendors, manufacturers, and other Company business partners are required to comply with all applicable local, state, federal, and international laws relating to the manufacture and production of products sold to Ross, including laws relating to:
- Labor compensation
- Working conditions
- Child, slave, prison, or forced labor
- Environmental protection
- Product safety
- Corruption or bribery (including foreign corrupt practices)
- Building and working safety conditions and similar obligations
To the extent contractors or subcontractors are involved in the production of goods supplied to Ross, vendors must ensure that these parties are similarly compliant with Ross’ Code of Conduct.
In line with our focus on ethical business practices, Ross will not knowingly purchase merchandise from any manufacturer involved in the use of child, slave, prison, or forced labor.
Ross’ standards and requirements related to sourcing and human rights are incorporated in various Company documents, including Ross’ Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Vendor Compliance Manual, Purchase Orders, Vendor Indemnification Agreements, and Buying Agent Agreements. For more information, refer to our Vendor Compliance Manual and our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which is located in the Corporate Governance section of our website.
We closely monitor evolving issues throughout the world to ensure that our suppliers and business partners adhere to our policies and commitments, as well as to federal, state, and local laws. Ross will not knowingly purchase any product whose manufacturer violates our policies and commitments.
Besides communicating our standards and requirements related to sourcing and human rights in various Company documents, Ross applies significant resources and drives processes to ensure and confirm that we source responsibly.
The majority of the apparel, footwear, accessories, and home-related products sold in our Stores is purchased from suppliers after they have been produced and imported to other retailers’ specifications. Though Ross does not have direct control over the manufacturing processes for these products, we contractually require suppliers to uphold our ethical standards.
Some products are ordered and imported directly through international buying agents or certain overseas vendors. For these items, we have additional processes and requirements in place to monitor and enforce compliance.
To start we communicate our standards and requirements to vendors, buyers, and overseas buying agents during our purchasing processes. We provide initial training to new Associates as well as ongoing training and updates to Buyers and other Associates involved in our product sourcing. Further we monitor and assess our supply chain for compliance related to product safety, labor laws, and human-trafficking concerns.
In addition, we maintain a factory audit program intended to ensure compliance with our Vendor Code of Conduct, which includes adherence to local labor, safety, and environmental laws. The program employs numerous resources, including buying-agent-conducted factory inspections and third-party factory audits conducted by approved auditors. Additionally, on an annual basis, Ross reviews hundreds of social compliance reports and corrective action responses.
If Ross becomes aware that any vendor is out of compliance with our requirements or procedures, we will take appropriate responsive action, which may include suspending all shipments of the vendor’s merchandise and/or terminating the business relationship.
Ross is committed to ensuring that products sold in our Stores are safe.
Through various vendor-facing documents, we require our vendors to provide products that comply with applicable federal, state, and local statutes, rules, and regulations (e.g., Purchase Order, Vendor Compliance Manual, and Indemnification Agreement).
Additionally, Ross references relevant legislation and safety standards when designing our buying and selling strategies. Although Ross does not buy or sell hazardous chemicals, we recognize that some consumer products may contain natural components and synthetic chemicals as ingredients. To protect the safety of consumers, including children, we require that vendors’ products comply with the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and any corresponding state laws. These laws mandate proper labeling, warning requirements, and product testing.
Children’s products are subject to rigorous requirements, including but not limited to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Compliance is strictly enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Ross requires that vendors of CPSIA-impacted products confirm that they meet the Commission’s requirements.
Where Ross sources food and cosmetic products overseas, we require that suppliers submit labeling and ingredients for compliance review and that they abide by all applicable U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements. Additionally, we review and confirm that foreign food suppliers meet Food Safety Modernization Act requirements and corresponding regulations.
In support of our product safety commitment, we require that our vendors confirm that they have reviewed and are in compliance with our Vendor Compliance Manual. The Vendor Compliance Manual provides an overview of the various requirements applicable to the products we sell and references sources of additional information. Go to our Vendor Compliance Manual for more information.
Standards and regulations regarding consumer products and supply chains are continually changing. Ross requires that all of its vendors engage in responsible business practices and uphold human rights throughout our supply chain.
As part of our investigation and disclosure of the existence of conflict minerals, we require that suppliers comply with our requests to identify the source of conflict minerals incorporated in or consumed by the manufacturing of products that we sell. Ross’ Conflict Minerals Disclosure is available in the Investors section of our website.
We do not specifically seek apparel or other merchandise containing animal fur. Given our opportunistic buying, from time to time products we sell may contain incidental fur.
Ross’ Code of Conduct specifically prohibits the use of any form of involuntary or forced labor by vendors and their contractors anywhere in their manufacturing or supply chain. We have zero tolerance for such violations and have taken additional, enhanced efforts intended to ensure that our supply chain does not include products made with forced labor. This process includes but is not limited to vendor communications, vendor monitoring, factory audits, and inspections.