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In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Grant Engineering Ireland and Grant Engineering UK websites for information on how the company managed workers' rights in its supply chain.

Supply chain policy (poor)
A strong policy would include the following commitments: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association, payment of a living wage, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no use of a child labour (under 15 or 14 if ILO exempt), no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason.

The company had an Ethical Trading Policy, containing its Ethical Trading Code of Practice. The Code of Practice applied to "staff directly employed by Grant on temporary or permanent contract, staff employed or provided by contractors or employment agencies to work on behalf of Grant." Regarding suppliers it stated "As part of our commitment to this policy, Grant is aiming to communicate this policy to all of our first tier suppliers, with a request to answer a questionnaire on this subject to show that they have set similar criteria for their own suppliers and service providers."

The Code included the clause "All employment is freely chosen" which was considered an adequate clause regarding forced labour. On child labour the Code stated, "Child labour is not used" which was not considered adequate as it did not refer to a specific age or ILO conventions. On wages it stated, "Wages are fair and comparable to the industry standard and will always exceed the minimum wage". This was not considered to be a commitment to paying a living wage. On working hours it stated, "Working hours are not excessive" which was not considered adequate. There were no clauses on discrimination or freedom of association.

Overall the company's supply chain policy was considered to be poor.

Stakeholder engagement (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to demonstrate stakeholder engagement, such as through membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Fair Labour Association or Social Accountability International. Companies were also expected to engage with Trade Unions, NGOs and/or not-for-profit organisations which could systematically verify the company's supply chain audits, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language.

No information was found on the above. The company's approach to stakeholder engagement was therefore considered to be poor.

Auditing and Reporting (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to have an auditing and reporting system. Results of audits should be publicly reported and quantitatively analysed. The company should have a scheduled and transparent audit plan that applies to their whole supply chain, including some second tier suppliers. The company should also have a staged policy for non-compliance. The costs of the audit should be borne by the company.

The company stated that all its products were manufactured at its plant in Birr, Co. Offaly. The company's Ethical Trading Policy stated "In addition to making enquiries we may also visit prospective new suppliers and make our own observations and make regular visits to established suppliers both at home and abroad." No further information was found regarding labour standards at the company's own facilities, or of supplier auditing.

The company's approach to auditing and reporting was considered to be poor.

Difficult issues (poor)
Ethical Consumer also deemed it necessary for companies to address other difficult issues in their supply chains. This would include ongoing training for agents, or rewards for suppliers, or preference for long term suppliers. It would also include acknowledgement of audit fraud and unannounced audits, and measures taken to address the issue of living wages, particularly among outworkers, and illegal freedom of association.

No information was found on the above. The company's approach to difficult supply chain management issues was therefore considered to be poor.

Overall the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference: (4 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Grant Engineering's website for the company's conflict minerals policy. No policy was found.

Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The minerals in question are Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) and are key components of electronic devices, from mobile phones to televisions.

Ethical Consumer expected all companies manufacturing electronics to have a policy on the sourcing of conflict minerals. Such a policy would articulate the company's commitment to conflict-free sourcing of 3TG minerals and a commitment to continue ensuring due diligence on the issue. The policy should also state that it intended to continue sourcing from the DRC region in order to avoid an embargo and that the company had membership of, or gave financial support to, organisations developing the conflict-free industry in the region.

Due to the fact the company had no policy it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its policy on conflict free minerals and lost a whole mark under the Habitats and Resources and Human Rights categories.

Reference: (4 January 2021)