Global Standards for Business Partners
Sara Lee believes in doing business with those business partners, including suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, joint venture partners, agents, distributors, and consultants who embrace and demonstrate high standards of ethical business behavior.
The following Global Standards for Business Partners define the minimum requirements for Sara Lee's business partners.
Product Quality and Safety
Sara Lee has a fundamental responsibility to ensure that consumers can trust the safety and quality of its products.
Business partners are expected to provide goods and services that meet or exceed all government and all agreed upon quality and safety standards. Any threats to product safety must be immediately reported to Sara Lee.
Sara Lee has a strong commitment to treating its employees fairly, and with dignity and respect. We believe in doing business with business partners who share this commitment, and we expect business partners to comply with all applicable employment laws and to support fundamental human rights for all people. Our expectations include:
Child labor - Business partners will not employ individuals in violation of the local mandatory school age, or under the legal employment age in each country where they operate. Moreover, in no case will business partners employ non-family workers under age 15, except for child actors and models employed in advertising or media who are protected by applicable child labor requirements.
Compensation - Business partners will, at a minimum, comply with applicable wage and hour laws and regulations, including those relating to minimum wages.
Discrimination - Business partners will not discriminate based on personal characteristics or beliefs. Sara Lee will favor those business partners who provide equal opportunity to all.
Forced labor - Business partners will not use forced or involuntary labor whether bonded, prison or indentured, including debt servitude.
Freedom of association and collective bargaining - Business partners will respect the right of employees to exercise their lawful right of free association. Similarly, business partners will recognize the lawful rights of their employees to choose or not choose collective bargaining representation.
Safety and health - Business partners will operate a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Where applicable, this also applies to housing and eating facilities.
Workplace harassment or abuse - Business partners will not subject employees to physical, verbal, sexual, or psychological harassment, nor use corporal or physical punishment to discipline employees.
Working hours - Business partners will comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding working hours.
Sara Lee believes in doing business with business partners who share its commitment to protecting the quality of the environment around the world through sound environmental management.
Business partners are expected to comply with all applicable environmental laws.
Sara Lee will favor business partners who seek to minimize the use of non-renewable resources, reduce and recycle waste, and minimize the environmental impact of their operations.
Conflicts of Interest
Sara Lee expects business decisions to be made in the best interest of the company. Any situation that creates or appears to create a conflict between personal interests and the interests of Sara Lee must be avoided.
A conflict of interest may arise when doing business with an organization that employs or is partially or fully owned by a Sara Lee employee or an employee's family members or close personal friends.
Business partners are expected to disclose actual or potential conflicts of interest to Sara Lee.
Sara Lee strictly abides by all applicable laws relating to anti-corruption, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and expects business partners to act in a similar manner.
Business partners may not pay bribes or engage in corrupt practices in order to advance Sara Lee's business interests. This includes, directly or indirectly, offering, promising to pay or authorizing the payment of money or anything of value to local government officials, political parties, party officials, candidates for political office, or officials of public international organizations (like the European Union or the World Bank) in an effort to influence any official decision that would assist Sara Lee in obtaining or retaining business, or securing any improper commercial advantage.
Gifts, Favors and Entertainment
Gifts, favors and entertainment are not needed in order to conduct business with Sara Lee, and may lead or appear to lead to a conflict of interest.
In many industries and countries, gifts, favors and entertainment are used to strengthen business relationships. Throughout the world, one principle is common and clear: No gift, favor or entertainment should be provided or accepted if it will obligate or appear to obligate the recipient.
Gifts or entertainment may be provided if they are reasonable complements to business relationships, or of modest value, and, in any event, not against the law or Sara Lee policy. Sara Lee employees may not accept gifts, favors and entertainment valued at more than $250USD in any year from the same company. In some instances, the Sara Lee entity you are dealing with may have a lower limit. Sara Lee policy expressly prohibits the following situations for Sara Lee employees:
- Requesting or soliciting personal gifts, favors, entertainment, or services.
- Exploiting their position to solicit vendors, including financial institutions, to provide individual preferential treatment in pricing, terms or loans.
- Accepting bribes or kickbacks.
- Receiving cash or cash equivalents.
- Being provided with lavish or excessive gifts and entertainment.
- Being entertained at clubs or organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.
- Being entertained at sexually oriented establishments, such as "gentlemen's clubs," "strip bars or brothels.
- Being entertained in a manner that places them at a risk of physical harm.
Business partners are expected to safeguard Sara Lee's confidential information by keeping it secure, limiting access to those who have a need to know in order to do their job, and avoiding discussion of confidential information in public areas, for example on planes, in elevators and on mobile phones.
Sara Lee's confidential information may not be disclosed as it provides Sara Lee a competitive advantage. Examples of confidential information include trade secrets, detailed sales and profit figures, new product or marketing plans, research and development ideas or information, manufacturing processes, personnel information, and information about potential acquisitions, divestitures and investments. The obligation to preserve Sara Lee's confidential information may be ongoing, even after the business relationship ends.
Sara Lee will respect and safeguard the confidential information of our business partners.
Fair Competition and Antitrust
Sara Lee believes in free and open competition, and strictly abides by all applicable fair competition and antitrust laws in the many countries where Sara Lee conducts business.
Business partners are expected to comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding fair competition and antitrust.
Accuracy of Business Records
Business partners are expected to record and report information accurately and honestly.
Business partners are expected not to hide, fail to record, or make false entries in connection with any business records. All records, including financial and operational records are expected to accurately reflect transactions, payments and events, to be filed in a timely fashion, and to conform to any requirements of Sara Lee made known to business partners.
Other Legal Requirements
Business partners are expected to comply with all applicable laws not otherwise set forth in these Standards. When used in these Standards, "applicable laws" include all applicable local, state, provincial, and national laws, codes, rules and regulations as well as all applicable treaties.
We expect our business partners to communicate these Standards to their employees and their business partners, and for their employees and business partners to adhere to them.
Monitoring and Compliance
Business partners are expected to notify Sara Lee immediately if they become aware of any non-compliant practices by themselves, their employees and their business partners under these Standards. Business partners are further expected to promptly develop and implement plans or programs to correct any such practices. Business partners should also be aware of the fact Sara Lee engages in various monitoring activities to confirm compliance with these Standards, including conducting its own and independent third-party site inspections and audits.
We expect all business partners to live up to these Standards and do the right thing. Sara Lee employees around the world use the following "Mirror Test" as their guide. We encourage business partners to use our "Mirror Test" as well.
A business partner's failure to observe and abide by these Standards may result in Sara Lee ceasing to do business with it.
Questions or Concerns
Sara Lee strongly encourages any business partner who feels pressured by a Sara Lee employee or another business partner to violate these Standards to contact Sara Lee's Business Practices Office immediately. Contact the Sara Lee Resource line at +1-800-285-7964 or +1-312-345-5715, www.SaraLeeResourceLine.com, or e-mailBusiness.Practices@saralee.com.
In Summary, we expect all suppliers to:
- Comply with the law.
- Do the right thing.
- Communicate concerns about inappropriate business practices promptly to us.
Living up to these responsibilities will help create continued success for Sara Lee and our valued business partners.
View and download the Global Standards for Business Partners in English and other languages (PDF format). For best results, print on color printer using 8.5x14 size paper on both sides and landscape.
Spanish (Latin America)