Making human rights Everyone’s Business

There are often members of staff visiting supplier sites on a regular basis. These could be designers working on new product or technical assessing quality or processes, for example. Often, these employees do not have direct human rights expertise or knowledge that they can employ when walking around the site.

Everyone’s Business is a human rights toolkit to help train these staff on what to look for, and to allow them to be able to raise any issues of concern with internal expert functions (human rights/ethical trade) back home.

The aim here is to make human rights everyone’s business, keeping key staff aware and updated, and using all of those supplier touch points as an informal and light touch due diligence check.

How it works:

  • Firstly, it provides country guides, tips on what to look out for during the visit.
  • Secondly, it has a simple set of yes/no questions designed to prompt the user to think about what they’ve observed, and to raise any issues of concern with internal experts back home.

The questions work in a factory setting and were developed with four leading brands: Next, M&S, Pentland and Sainsbury’s.

Issues covered

Everyone’s Business is not an audit tool. Instead, it’s about helping staff to observe what’s around them and ask subtle questions.  The visit tips, issue alerts and questions reflect this. They focus on the following areas:

  • Worker health & safety
  • Working conditions & accommodation
  • Visible harassment and discrimination (gender, ethnic groups)
  • Young workers
  • Migrant workers
  • Un-authorised sub-contracting
  • Local environmental pollution


Everyone’s Business has questions tailored for different settings:

  • Factory / Packhouse
  • Pharmaceutical plant
  • Quarrying & construction
  • Food

Principles for setting questions

Whilst the risks and questions for each sector may vary slightly, the questions are guided by the following principles for all current and future question sets for users:

  • Focus on perceptions and observations
  • Keep it short
  • Use plain language
  • Yes/No answers only
  • Don’t ask questions that are asked elsewhere (e.g SAQs, audits)
  • Follow existing questions where possible

Participant companies

Everyone’s Business was developed by Carnstone alongside the founding participants of Pentland, M&S, Next and Sainsbury’s.

If you’re interesting in using the Everyone’s Business application, please learn more about joining.