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This enables us to identify critical performance issues and take appropriate remedial action. It also helps us provide targeted support for suppliers to help them build capability to address issues within their own supply chains. We also provide support for communities within our supply chain, such as the LGBT+ community.

Improving performance and building capability

Engaging directly with suppliers through follow-up discussions and briefings using our monitoring processes is one of the most effective ways of improving performance in our supply chain. If there is evidence of non-compliance through Joint Audit Cooperation (JAC) audits, our own on-site assessments or worker surveys, we work with suppliers to develop corrective actions, to improve their policies and/or strengthen the processes they use to manage key risks.

This year, most of the recommendations made following Vodafone or JAC audits related to health and safety, excessive working hours and business ethics. Regarding health and safety, there was an increase in those related to fire evacuation signage, evacuation lighting and fire exits. There was also an increase in environmental recommendations, mainly regarding unsatisfactory management systems or emissions monitoring. We work directly and through the JAC governance process to ensure all recommendations are implemented.

Recommendations for improvement from combined JAC audits* and Vodafone audits in 2019

(Number of cases)

 Number of cases
Health and safety466
Working hours139
Business ethics106
Young workers16
Freedom of association11
Forced labour9
Disciplinary practices8

* JAC assessments are reported on a calendar-year basis.

There were 30 out of 60 critical performance issues identified from JAC on-site audits that were resolved and signed off. The remaining 30 issues related to working hours and emergency preparedness require additional time and investment to monitor effectiveness of actions before they can be signed off as completed. Vodafone will terminate a contract if any supplier persistently fails to resolve compliance failures or if issues of gross misbehaviour occur.

Providing our suppliers with direct support and building capability

As part of the JAC initiative, Vodafone worked with three other operators this year to launch a Supplier Academy to build supplier capability. The Academy focuses on developing training to help suppliers assess and improve the social, ethical and environmental performance issues that may arise within their own supply chains.

Supporting LGBT+ communities in our supply chain

This year, we began to measure the progress our suppliers are making towards support for diverse groups such as LGBT+. Approximately 60% of our suppliers have declared that they have policies specifically related to non-discrimination of workers that identify as LGBT+. Approximately half our suppliers had LGBT+ supportive practices such as support networks or LGBT+ inclusive policies and practices in place.