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From Human Resources to Human Rights

October 15, 2019

How major Australian supermarkets use StaffSure to shore up their ethical

sourcing channels


Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have taken further steps to ensure their supply chains are ethical and exploitation-free by locking down minimum requirements for labour hire providers across the agricultural sector.


Both retailers have moved to shore up minimum standards by adopting StaffSure, a

proactive industry-led certification program led by RCSA, the peak industry body for the recruitment and staffing sector in Australian and New Zealand.


Through the process, Coles says it understands both the role and value of labour hire

providers in its supply chain as well as the potential they can bring for exploitation of staff.


“To help suppliers and the recruitment and staffing industry to reduce risk, Coles has

supported the development of the StaffSure labour hire certification program,” a Coles spokesperson says.



“StaffSure is an independent industry-led certification program that assesses labour hire providers against six key risk elements.”


It lists these as being: 

  1. Fit and proper persons own and run the labour hire business;

  2. Fair remuneration to ensure workers receive legal employment entitlements;

  3. Financial assurance to operate the labour hire business sustainably;

  4. Safe work for all workers;

  5. Immigration and visa laws must be complied with;

  6. Accommodation supplied by employers or clients must be suitable and rent must be fair.

“We are committed to minimising the potential for labour and human rights issues in our supply chains and operations and to transparently source goods and services in an ethical manner. Our aim is to ensure that human rights are understood, respected and upheld,”the Coles spokesperson says.


In February 2019, Woolworths added to its Responsible Sourcing Standards, which requires suppliers in its horticultural supply chain to ensure work standards and pay offered to those within the supply chain meet set standards.


“The addendum outlines requirements relating to the engagement of labour providers by participants in our horticulture supply chain,” Woolworths Group says. “Safeguarding responsible employment practices by labour providers involved in our supply chain is a key component of our responsible sourcing commitments.”


To be an eligible provider to a Woolworths produce supplier, labour suppliers must be

StaffSure certified or hold a labour hire licence under a State scheme or are approved under the Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Program.


“While our operations and supply chains are complex, our aim is to ensure that human rights issues are understood, respected and upheld.


“We expect our business partners to adhere to ethical business conduct consistent with our own, and are committed to working with them to fulfil this common goal,