As the usage of GRI Reporting Framework and Guidelines among the organizations grows, the firms are able to understand their supplier’s social and environmental performances. It started with Microsoft in 2011. The company recommended their hardware suppliers and service providers to comply with Microsoft’s Vendor Code of Conduct[i], which includes business ethics, labor, and human rights, by using GRI’s Disclosure on Management Approach Framework. Microsoft began using the data to improve the training and capacity-building programs to help their supplier in fulfilling the standard.
One good example that shows explicit value of reporting is the group that manages customer service and support call center. Self-reporting provided some critical insights that were essential in moving toward the next step to work with service providers. As well, Microsoft suggested its suppliers to publish Corporate Social Responsibility Reports annually using GRI Framework. Microsoft encourages its suppliers to follow GRI Guidelines because it is a natural fit for greater transparency of the social and environmental performance.
In the technology sector, after Microsoft’s supplier reporting announcement in 2011, Apple, HP and other firms are joining to advance greater transparency among their suppliers through recommendation of GRI reports. For the success of promoting GRI reporting among the suppliers through Microsoft and other technology firms, one actor played an active role, The New York City Pension Funds. Michael Garland of the New York City’s Office of the Comptroller showed appreciation toward Microsoft for its openness to dialogue and the effort on promoting greater transparency and GRI reporting.
[i] Microsoft Vendor Code of Conduct (Highlights)
Microsoft aspires to be a great company by helping people and businesses throughout the world realize the highest levels of productivity and success. It’s not only about technology but building good relationship with shareholders. The Standards of Business Conduct apply to all employees, directors and officers and encourages vendors and its employees to comply Microsoft Vendor Code of Conduct.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE VENDOR CODE OF CONDUCT
While conducting business with or on behalf of Microsoft, vendors must promptly inform their Microsoft contact when any situation develops that causes the Vendor to operate in violation of this Code of Conduct. While Microsoft Vendors are expected to self-monitor and demonstrate their compliance with this Code of Conduct, Microsoft may audit Vendors or inspect Vendors’ facilities to confirm compliance.
LEGAL AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCE PRACTICES
All Microsoft Vendors must conduct their business activities in full compliance with the applicable laws and regulations while conducting business with and/or on behalf of Microsoft, and must, without limitation: Trade, Antitrust, Boycotts, and Anti-Corruption.
BUSINESS PRACTICES AND ETHICS
Business Records – Honestly and accurately record and report all business information; Press – Speak to the press on behalf of Microsoft only if the Vendor is expressly authorized in writing to do so by Microsoft; Gifts – Avoid gifts to Microsoft employees because even a well-intentioned gift might constitute a bribe under certain circumstances, or create conflicts of interest; Conflicts of Interest – Avoid the appearance of or actual improprieties or conflicts of interests; Insider Trading – Avoid insider trading by not buying or selling Microsoft or another company’s securities.
LABOR PRACTICES AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Use only voluntary labor; Not require workers to lodge “deposits” or their identity papers their employer; Comply with all local and national minimum working age laws or regulations and not use child labor; Not engage in physical discipline or abuse; Pay applicable legal wages under humane conditions; Not require workers to work more than the maximum hours of daily labor set by local and national laws or regulations; Keep employee records in accordance with local and national laws or regulations; Respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in accordance with legal requirements
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Provide a safe and healthy work environment and fully comply with all safety and health laws, regulations, and practices; and Prohibit the use, possession, distribution, or sale of illegal drugs while on Microsoft-owned or -leased property.
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS AND PROTECTION
Comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations regarding hazardous materials, air emissions, waste and wastewater discharges; Endeavor to reduce or eliminate waste of all types; Obtain, maintain and keep current all required environmental permits and registrations; If applicable, identify the chemicals or other materials being released that pose a threat; and Adhere to all applicable laws, regulations and customer requirements
PROTECTION OF ASSETS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Respect and protect the intellectual property rights of all parties; Protect and responsibly use the physical and intellectual assets of Microsoft; Use Microsoft-provided information technology and systems (including email) only for authorized Microsoft business-related purposes; Comply with all Microsoft requirements and procedures for maintaining passwords, confidentiality, security and privacy; and Comply with the intellectual property ownership rights of Microsoft and others.
For full text on Microsoft Vendor Code of Conduct refer to the following site: