Supply Chain Accountability
We have several responsible sourcing commitments and requirements in place to minimize negative impacts and increase positive influence in our supply chain, and want to ensure the integrity of these commitments. As a result, we have programs in place to hold our suppliers accountable for meeting our standards through assessments of environmental, social and human right practices, as well as working to improve the traceability of Our Brands products.
We monitor our supply chain for social and environmental impacts in multiple ways. Several of our responsible sourcing commitments and programs are aligned with specific environmental and social certification schemes to provide clarity and third-party credibility to our commitments.
Our Responsible Sourcing Framework summarizes our major policies and commitments, and our approach to tracking performance against these.
Read the Supply Chain Accountability section of our full Sustainability Report.
Social Compliance Audits
As described in Kroger’s Social Compliance Audit Program Requirements, our Social Compliance Audits are designed to check our suppliers’ alignment with our Vendor Code of Conduct. Vendors must agree to our Vendor Code of Conduct when registering to become a supplier in our Supplier Hub. The code informs vendors that the facilities they operate and subcontract with can be subject to Social Compliance Audits.
Factory visits are guided by Kroger’s audit content and are conducted by a third-party auditing firm approved by Kroger within a five-day audit window. Kroger requires social compliance audits for all Our Brands (food and non-food products) and unbranded products (such as bulk produce) processed at facilities outside the United States. Kroger also requires audits for direct import national brand products where Kroger is the importer of record.
To further improve governance, Kroger has created a single source for all vendor information—the Supplier Hub, a centralized management system to ensure that all Kroger vendors are identifiable, accessible and regularly assessed for compliance. Kroger’s Supplier Hub enables a thorough identification and verification process for our external vendors and suppliers. This system will allow us to more easily collect and centrally maintain important information about our suppliers’ compliance with our commitments, such as facility audit outcomes, certifications and relevant company initiatives.
Animal Welfare Audit Requirements
As articulated in our Animal Welfare Policy, Kroger requires all beef, pork, chicken, turkey and egg suppliers to provide evidence of an annual Animal Welfare audit as part of doing business with us. Audits are to align with our accepted animal welfare standards and are to be conducted by reputable independent commercial third-party auditing companies. When audits fall below acceptable standards, our Regulatory Compliance Team determines improvement steps with our vendors. We also require all suppliers of milk and other dairy products supplying our manufacturing plants and grocery assortment to participate in the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management™ program.
Testing, Monitoring and Reporting
Kroger is committed to managing our products to ensure safety and quality. We require our suppliers to align with regulatory requirements pertaining to product safety, as well as meet our quality, safety and performance requirements. We engage with suppliers to address any concerns. This is true for both food and non-food products.
Our Corporate Food Technology and Regulatory Compliance teams monitor for food integrity and purity, product size and specifications and regulatory compliance to ensure we provide safe, high-quality food products to our customers.
Similarly, our General Merchandise group maintains a General Merchandise Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance program, which outlines product testing protocols and requirements, labeling requirements and chemicals reporting requirements, among other things, for general merchandise products in our stores.