7 Themes of Corporate Social Responsibility to Consider When Selecting Packaging Suppliers

Global brands that rely on Southeast Asia (SEA) product factories to manufacture their products need streamlined methods to manage their packaging supply chains for social compliance.


ISO 26000 provides a framework for compliance issues that brands frequently incorporate into their own compliance programs. ISO 26000 provides guidance on these seven core themes:

  • Organisational governance
  • Human rights
  • Labour practices
  • Environment
  • Fair operating practices
  • Consumer issues
  • Community involvement and development


How do Brands Manage Social Compliance Throughout the Entirety of Their Supply Chains?


The supply chains of global brands relying on SEA OEMs are complex and encompass Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 suppliers. Although brands frequently manage Tier 1 suppliers through their own compliance programs, brands frequently lack visibility into lower tier suppliers. Packaging suppliers, normally considered to be Tier 2 or Tier 3 suppliers within a brand’s supply chain, are outside of the compliance scope of most brands.


Strong compliance oversight for Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers is critically important to the brand. Product packaging is an extension of the brand and is easily associated with the brand due to the inclusion of trademarked logos on the product packaging. Product packaging is frequently the first point of physical contact the consumer has directly with the brand. Evolving supply chain due diligence legislation, in conjunction with heightened consumer awareness of supply chain compliance issues, are additional reasons that strong oversight of packaging suppliers is needed.

International Industry Initiatives to Improve Human Rights

Multiple intergovernmental organisations are working in parallel to develop guidelines and procedures for advancing human rights, working conditions, anti-corruption and business ethics globally. These initiatives include:

While compiling our own, we did a thorough review of the work of multiple organisations, including those listed above. We focused on goals that are universally applicable for moving human rights forward within international supply chains. Our Supplier Code of Conduct, in conjunction with our (CSRs), provide a consistent framework for Billerud to deploy when creating customized packaging solutions for global brands.


Collectively, these sources provide ideas, context, and guidance regarding best practices for businesses. To ensure they are engaging in ethical and transparent business practices — including supporting worker rights and dignity — businesses can leverage these resources.


Brand logos are frequently printed on product packages. Brands recognize how product packages contribute to the overall reputation of a brand.

If a compliance violation is discovered, brands understand how rapidly consumer sentiment can change and how quickly goodwill can be lost if consumers perceive that a brand does not care about ethical business practices.


Digital Communication Provides Rapid Condemnation for Human Rights Violations 


Judgment by consumers, the media, and investment communities is swift and, often, unforgiving. If a noncompliance issue is discovered due to an inadvertent weakness in a brand’s extended supply chain (as opposed to intentionally relying upon noncompliant business practices as a business strategy), the public will immediately form a negative association with a brand. An egregious noncompliance issue, which may creep into an extended supply chain without a brand’s knowledge, can quickly tarnish a brand's reputation. Potential noncompliance issues might range from use of child labour, unsafe working conditions, lack of fair compensation, improper disposal of environmental contaminants, or many other business practices that have negative social consequences.


Billerud's Packaging Standards Align with Global Guidelines


Billerud has an in-house team of compliance experts that manage global packaging supply chains for brands to ensure that all packaging suppliers engage in ethical and sustainable business practices. Our compliance experts stay up to date on evolving international compliance requirements. Our compliance team’s state of the art knowledge enables us to help brands align their compliance programs with international standards. You can learn more about our comprehensive compliance program by reviewing the article Packaging Compliance Program Provides Peace of Mind and Lowers Risk for Brands Manufacturing in Asia .


How Does Billerud Adapt Compliance Standards to Meet the Needs of Each Brand?


Whether a brand has it's own compliance standards or is looking for a turnkey solution, Billerud’s compliance auditors work closely with brands to understand compliance needs for each of the seven compliance areas. Audits and compliance management for each packaging supplier that services a brand can be adjusted by Billerud to ensure that each brand’s particular compliance needs are met.


Community Involvement and Development

Community involvement and development is one of the seven core subjects of ISO social responsibility.  

As part of our overall compliance initiative, Billerud actively develops programming that benefits a community and helps improve the skill base of local communities. Examples of these programs include:

  • Providing on-site childcare during the summer for workers whose children live far awa from the factory locations where the parents are employed. This program provided children and parents with quality time for bonding during summer school breaks.
  • Offering parent classes to help improve the parenting skills of workers.

These programs that support community involvement and development provide just a few examples of the extensive compliance initiatives that Billerud’s has developed as part of their comprehensive compliance program.  


How Does Billerud Help Packaging Suppliers Understand Compliance Needs?


Billerud conducts supplier compliance workshops regularly. Depending on the status of the global pandemic, going forward, these workshops may be either virtual or in person. Are you an approved packaging supplier that is interested in attending?  



Brands work very hard, and invest a substantial amount of time and financial resources, into earning the respect, trust, and loyalty of consumers. Brands understand that their customers are willing to research their business practices so they can support brands that align with personal values of supporting human rights, fair labor practices, and sustainability.


Brands also understand that by leveraging sophisticated social media platforms, each consumer can be either an enthusiastic brand advocate or an extremely disappointed brand critic. With a single tap of a finger on a digital device, a disappointed or angered brand critic can disseminate information about a brand's noncompliance of a product to a global audience. Social media engagement tools, including liking and sharing content, can allow negative reviews to go viral in minutes.


To proactively avoid unflattering reviews associated with packaging noncompliance, brands can engage packaging professional experts to assist with proactive management of extensive packaging supply chains. Knowing that a team of expert packaging professionals is carefully managing packaging suppliers for compliance to ethical business practices can provide brands with peace of mind.  

Additional Resources

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