A Day in the Life of a Billerud Compliance Auditor
Billerud has a comprehensive CSR compliance auditing program in place to ensure that each packaging supplier that participates in our packaging network provides a safe and ethical work environment for frontline workers.
Our comprehensive packaging compliance audit program provides brands with peace of mind that their product and transport packaging is ethically sourced and that the workers involved in the production of their packaging are treated fairly and can conduct their jobs in a safe working environment.
Selection of Workers to Interview
To ensure that labour compliance practices have been accurately reported by management during the audit process, Billerud’s Auditors meet with workers to discuss their daily work experiences relative to fair labor treatment, safety, compensation, and other pertinent work issues.
The Billerud’s Auditor will randomly select which workers should participate in this discussion. Through spontaneous selection of frontline workers, we can ensure a balanced sampling of workers who can freely express their experiences during the interview.
Random selection of workers also allows the Billerud Auditor to keep an eye out for very young workers so they can be included in the discussions to ensure that there are not violations of child labour laws. Violating child labour laws is a serious noncompliance issue. Packaging suppliers who are using child labour automatically receive a zero tolerance rating. Once a zero tolerance grade is given, new business initiatives with a packaging supplier are halted.
Each interview is conducted with respect and dignity to ensure the rights of all team members are respected and that each team member can feel at ease throughout the interview process. Management is not present during worker interviews. Through our years of experience we have found that workers are far more candid if they can engage in the interview without management oversight. SOPs require that worker interviews are handled confidentially.
Closing Meeting at the Conclusion of the Audit
After conducting a thorough audit, a Billerud Auditor has a closing meeting before leaving the packaging factory. Audit results are reviewed and, if there are noncompliance issues found, these are communicated to the packaging provider and a timeline is provided for correcting the situation.
Billerud Auditors assign one of four grades to each product factory that has undergone an audit. These grades are:
- Accepted with condition
- Zero tolerance
Additional information regarding the compliance rating standards and resulting corrective actions can be found in our blog post Packaging Compliance Program Provides Peace of Mind and Lowers Risk for Brands Manufacturing in Asia.
Third Party Auditors
In some instances, it is necessary to secure a third party auditor to conduct compliance audits. Reasons this may occur include:
- Travel restrictions related to COVID 19
- A new market is being entered and the expertise of an auditor with a deep knowledge in the country (or region) is required
- The product factory (and it's corresponding packaging provider) is located in a geographical area that is outside of our typical geographical service areas
- A local auditing firm is engaged to ensure adherence to local laws and regulations
Third party Compliance Auditors are required to use Billerud’s auditing SOP's and follow Billerud’s auditing methodologies.
If a third party auditor finds an egregious noncompliance issue, they are required to communicate the issue to the Billerud Auditor within 24 hours of initially discovering the compliance violation.
Although the vast majority of audits are preplanned and coordinated in advance of the audit start date, in some instances, when noncompliance issues or a lack of transparency are suspected, a Billerud Auditor may conduct an unannounced audit.
The purpose of an unannounced audit is to capture a true picture of actual working conditions.
Ongoing Compliance Management
When they are not conducting on site compliance audits, Billerud’s Auditors focus on ensuring that each noncompliance issue discovered during an audit is quickly resolved to bring each packaging supplier into compliance with our standards.
Ongoing Compliance Training
Each Billerud Auditor also engages in ongoing training, and relies on a combination of internal and external resources for that training. As laws and conditions frequently change, Billerud Auditors stay well connected to industry sources and professional associations to stay on top of evolving compliance conditions.
Participating in the Billerud packaging supplier network is a hard earned privilege. Each packaging provider is required to undergo an annual audit. Prospective packaging providers are required to pass their initial audit in order to gain admittance to the packaging network. Billerud’s Auditors provide ongoing monitoring and support to packaging network members to ensure that each packaging supplier is compliant to standards. Brands can be assured that the packaging used at their product factories is ethically sourced and that packaging workers are provided with a safe and ethical working environment.