26 January 2007 | Paul Snell
London Underground (LU) has become the first public sector organisation to sign up to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).
It has joined the group, which includes private sector companies such as Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer, as a corporate member. Most of the 300,000 items of uniform that the company provides for its employees is sourced from the Far East and Eastern Europe. By signing up to the ETI, all of LU's clothing suppliers will have to meet standards covering health and safety, wages and employee discrimination.
Peter Zuk, LU chief programmes officer, said: "LU has always strived to ensure that there is respect and fairness for employees at its uniform supplier factories. ETI provides the perfect forum for us to join forces with others to tackle poor working conditions worldwide."
An LU spokesman told supplymanagement.com that procurement had "significant input" into the decision to join the code, although senior management had taken the final decision.
Alan Roberts, chair of the ETI, said: "LU's decision to join us is a milestone for ethical trade. Let's hope it will blaze a trail for other public sector bodies to join up."