27 June 2008 | Jake Kanter
More than three-quarters of L'Oréal's suppliers failed to meet the company's standards on labour last year.
According to the cosmetic firm's annual sustainable development report, 43 per cent of the 585 suppliers audited are in need of improvement, while a further 35 per cent require "major" development. And 2 per cent fell under L'Oréal's "zero tolerance" category.
The audits covered a variety of L'Oréal's spend categories, including raw materials, packaging and promotional items. Most of its suppliers -65 per cent - were based in Asia, with others in South America, Europe and Africa.
Those vendors requiring major improvement will be given up to 90 days to take corrective action. The company will stop trading with those found to be in its zero tolerance category, unless immediate remedial measures are taken.
Just over 28 per cent of all the suppliers audited didn't conform to policies on staff working hours and 24 per cent didn't meet health and safety standards. The audits also found evidence that 1 per cent of its vendors were using child labour and 2.7 per cent forced staff to work.
The firm plans to launch a new code of conduct for suppliers, developed by the firm, vendors and NGOs, in October 2009.