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Trusted suppliers code of conduct

We’ve selected our trusted suppliers for the quality of their products and services, the value they offer to the sector, and their experience of working with voluntary organisations.

As well as meeting our selection criteria, our trusted suppliers must be aligned with our mission and values. We also expect them to act responsibly and adhere to the code of conduct below.

Our code of conduct sets out the behaviours and practices we expect to see from trusted suppliers. We also expect them to apply these standards to other organisations they work with as much as possible.

Ethical commitment

Trusted suppliers must respect the fundamental labour rights set out in the eight International Labour Organisation (ILO) core conventions.

They must make sure that working conditions of all employees, including employees along the supply chain, are of an acceptable standard. This should be externally verified where possible.

The ILO core conventions are used in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code. Trusted suppliers should follow the key principles of the Base Code.

  • Employment is freely chosen
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is respected
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • No child labour
  • Living wages are paid (trusted suppliers should try to pay the UK Living Wage)
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • No discrimination is practised
  • Regular employment is provided (temporary staff and zero hours contracts are allowed if they are applied fairly)
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment

Trusted suppliers must also respect the rights set out in the International Bill of Human Rights.

They will also work towards adopting a modern slavery statement.

Environmental commitment

Trusted suppliers must show they’re committed to protecting the environment. Where possible they should have environmental policies and processes in place. All environmental policies should be shared with us.

Trusted suppliers must tell us if they’ve caused any significant damage to the environment. This applies to their own activities and the activities of their suppliers. This information needs to be shared with us before the organisation becomes a trusted supplier, along with any risk management plans.

Environmental incidents which happen during the trusted supplier relationship must be shared with us within 14 days of them coming to the supplier’s attention.

We do our best to make sure our work has minimal impact on the environment and the Earth’s finite resources. Trusted suppliers must also commit to continuously improving their business, products and services in the following ways.

  • Reduce energy consumption, including improving energy efficiency ratings and making efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Reduce water consumption, including improving water efficiency and making efforts to reduce water consumption.
  • Reduce waste production, including waste to landfill. Suppliers should aim to make reductions in packaging and reuse materials as much as possible. They should also increase recycling activities.
  • Reduce travel emissions, including distance travelled along with efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Increase sustainable procurement and investment, including efforts to increase investment in sustainable practices and whole life cycle thinking. Suppliers should also make efforts to ensure natural products are from sustainable sources and, where possible, provide certification.

Volunteering commitment

Trusted suppliers must be willing to support their employees to take part in formal and informal volunteering opportunities.

They should work towards creating a volunteering policy if they don’t already have one.

Data protection

Trusted suppliers must comply with UK data protection legislation. This applies to the sale and marketing of their products and services to voluntary organisations.

Suppliers should use established exclusion lists to make sure they aren’t taking part in unsolicited sales or marketing. Inclusion lists include the following.

Customer care

Trusted suppliers should treat all NCVO members and other voluntary sector customers in an honest, equitable and transparent way.

Suppliers should show respect for the voluntary sector and take time to understand the needs of their voluntary sector customers. All products and services supplied to voluntary sector organisations should be fit for purpose and appropriate to the size and nature of the organisation concerned.

Trusted suppliers must follow our trusted supplier complaints procedure.

Failing to meet the code of conduct

If a trusted supplier doesn’t meet an area of the code of conduct, we’ll work with them to address the issue. However, if a supplier breaks the code of conduct, we reserve the right to terminate the relationship.

We’ll continue to review the code of conduct and may amend it at any time.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about our trusted suppliers or the code of conduct, please email

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