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NCVO’s trusted suppliers code of conduct

NCVO works with a range of trusted suppliers who are selected for the quality of their products and services, the value that they offer and their experience of working with voluntary organisations. In addition to meeting our selection criteria we also expect all of our trusted suppliers to act in a responsible business way and adhere to our code of conduct. If you have any questions regarding our trusted suppliers or their adherence to our code of conduct, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NCVO’s mission is ‘to help voluntary organisations and volunteers make the biggest difference they can.’ NCVO is committed to ensuring that its mission and values are reflected in the suppliers with whom it does business, and that they also are aligned to our values.

We’ve adopted the following values to shape NCVO’s culture. They guide how we behave and make decisions.

NCVO will:

  • use evidence: we base what we say and do on the best research available and on our members’ experiences
  • be creative: we explore new ideas and approaches, looking for what will add real value
  • be collaborative: we work with our members and partners to achieve the best results
  • be inclusive: we value diversity and work to make sure that opportunities are open to all
  • work with integrity: we are open and honest and do what we believe is best for our members, volunteers and the voluntary sector.

In addition to complying with all applicable statutory and legal requirements, NCVO’s trusted suppliers must comply with this code as an absolute minimum, and take reasonable steps to ensure that those with whom they have a business relationship do likewise. NCVO will work with suppliers to help address non-compliance but reserves the right to terminate its relationship with a supplier in the case of breach of this code. NCVO keeps this code under ongoing review and may amend or add to this code at any time.

Ethical commitment

Suppliers must respect the fundamental labour rights set out in the eight International Labour Organisation core conventions and ensure that working conditions of all employees, including those employees along the supply chain, are of an acceptable standard and, where possible, be externally verified. Key principles of these conventions as they relate to working practices are set out within the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code, in summary as follows.1

  • 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 (wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards, however, Suppliers should strive to pay the UK Living Wage)
  • working hours are not excessive
  • no discrimination is practised
  • regular employment is provided (this does not exclude the use of contract and temporary staff or use of zero hours contracts if deemed appropriate and applied fairly)
  • no harsh or inhumane treatment
  • suppliers must respect the rights set out in the International Bill of Human Rights2

Environmental commitment

  • Suppliers must exercise environmental due diligence – that is take reasonable steps and make good faith efforts – to avoid causing or contributing to any significant adverse impact on the environment.
  • Suppliers must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to protect the environment and, appropriate to their size and circumstances, have in place policies and processes that enable them to identify, prevent, mitigate and remedy any actual or potential adverse effect on the environment that they cause or contribute to through their activities.
  • Suppliers must disclose to NCVO information on any significant adverse effect on the environment that has come to their attention both in respect of themselves and along their supply chain, including the names of suppliers associated with these risks, and any risk management plans that have been put in place. Such information must be provided both before contracting with NCVO, and during the contractual relationship, and within 14 days of the information having come to the supplier’s attention.
  • All suppliers to provide NCVO with a copy of their environmental policy.

NCVO strives to conduct its operations with minimum impact on the environment and the Earth’s finite resources, and to provide benefits to society. Suppliers agree to commit to continuous improvement (and, when asked, provide evidence) towards ensuring that their business, products and services are:

1. reducing energy consumption

  • including energy efficiency ratings and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions

2. reducing water consumption

  • including water efficiency and efforts to reduce water consumption

3. reducing waste production

  • including products recycled content and recycling activities, reductions in waste to landfill, reductions in packaging and ability to re-use materials through end of life disassembly

4. reducing travel emissions

  • including distance travelled and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions

5. Increasing sustainable procurement and investment

  • including efforts to reduce resource use from unsustainable sources and investment into sustainable practices and whole life cycle thinking
  • including efforts to ensure natural products are from sustainable sources where the chain of custody is known and, where possible, providing certification.

Volunteering commitment

Suppliers must be willing to support formal and informal volunteering undertaken by their employees and should work towards having a formal volunteering policy if one is not already established.

Data protection

Suppliers will ensure that the sale and/or provision of their products or services and all associated marketing activity to voluntary organisations complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and any subsequent data protection legislation. Suppliers will use exclusion lists, such as TPS (Telephone Preference Service), CTPS (Corporate Telephone Preference Service) and MPS (Mailing Preference Service) to ensure anyone signed up to these lists is not contacted for any cold sales or marketing approach. Suppliers will, where practical, ask all voluntary sector customers to opt in to also receive further relevant information from NCVO.

Customer care

Suppliers should treat all NCVO members and other voluntary sector customers or potential 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 or potential 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. Suppliers must also adhere to the NCVO suppliers complaints procedure. 


1 The full code is available at; NCVO refers to this code for guidance purposes and emphasises that they represent basic minimum standards only.

2 Consisting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the main instruments through which it has been codified (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights); for a list of these rights see: or

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