Retail Council of Canada’s members have global supply chains and believe that businesses should act responsibly where they operate and source. RCC works with its members in tackling responsible sourcing issues proactively and collaboratively to reduce future risks. RCC educates its members on emerging topics and tools on responsible sourcing, acts as a hub to share information and best practices between members, and builds relationships with global stakeholders to ensure that members have access to experts in the field.
Starting in 2003, Retail Council of Canada put together Canadian Retailers Advancing Responsible Trade, or CRART. An advisory council to RCC’s Board of Directors, CRART was assembled to inform consumers, consult with other industries and provide a consistent voice for Canadian retailers on responsible trade. It provided a forum for interested parties to meet and share information about advancing responsible trading practices, and also saw the inception of RCC’s Responsible Trading Guidelines, developed around international labour standards. The chair of the group was the Honourable Barbara McDougall, a former Minister of External Affairs for the Government of Canada.
In 2009-10, RCC worked with the Maquila Solidarity Network and Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) to build support for the Responsible Cotton campaign, an effort to end the use of forced and child labour to harvest cotton in Uzbekistan. Work continues today with North American association counterparts in the apparel industry, and the Cotton Campaign to end forced and child labour in Uzbekistan.
In 2013, after the Tazreen and Rana Plaza tragedies, there was a renewed focus on responsible sourcing, particularly on socioeconomic and political issues in new producer countries. RCC also updated its Responsible Trading Guidelines to reflect this new reality.
With a slightly different member base than ten years before, RCC launched a member-company survey on responsible sourcing to determine industry next steps. As a result of this survey, two committees were formed, one on non-food responsible sourcing issues and the other focusing on food issues.
Several issues that RCC focuses on include:
We also have more detail on retail approaches to the supply chain and further resources.