For many years, 99 Cents Only Stores has had in place a policy against purchasing any merchandise manufactured as a result of human trafficking or slavery and, in fact, as a result of any coercive, abusive, or unlawful practice.
In 2004, 99 Cents Only Stores adopted the following policy, which has been on its intranet at all times since:
“It is the Company’s policy not to purchase products known to be manufactured using exploitive or unfair labor practices. This means not purchasing products known to be manufactured by the use of: forced labor, abusive labor practices, child labor, or other practices that are illegal in the place at which the products being offered are manufactured.”
Given the large closeout nature of much of the Company’s merchandise, its price points, and the ever-changing nature and composition of the merchandise it purchases and offers for sale, it is not feasible for the Company to comprehensively audit or verify supplier compliance, but the Company does send its own employees to a number of the overseas factories from which it buys product for tours and inspections. Further, the Company also requires its direct suppliers to attest, in writing, to the fact that their products sold to the Company are not the result of any proscribed practices. In fact, the Company’s vendor contracts contain the following requirement:
“It is Purchaser’s policy not to purchase products manufactured using exploitive or unfair labor practices, such as forced labor, abusive labor practices, or child labor. Neither will Purchaser buy merchandise made as a result of any practices that are illegal in the place at which the products being offered are manufactured. By signing or shipping under 99 Cents’s PO, Seller attests to the fact that after a diligent inquiry, Seller has ascertained that no product that is the subject of this Purchase Order has been manufactured using any such forced, involuntary, exploitive, or unfair labor practices.”
The Company’s buyers are accountable for complying with this policy, and any supplier found to have falsely attested to its compliance with the Company’s policy will no longer be used by the Company as one of its venders. The Company has also conducted training with its buyers to enhance compliance efforts.