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Lakeshore holds itself to the highest standards of conduct among its employees, vendors and suppliers, and is proud to be in compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. We are committed to the eradication of slavery and human trafficking, and our efforts to combat this practice in our supply chain include the following:
From preproduction through postproduction, we directly engage in multiple levels of verification of our product supply chain. Lakeshore’s experienced and well-trained internal Supply Chain team completes each of our extensive supply chain verifications. For the initial assessment, we personally visit and evaluate each of our new supply chain vendors. After performing interviews and reviewing certifications of the new vendor to assess its business practices, we complete comprehensive factory site inspections for verification of compliance. We only do business with supply chain vendors that can provide reputable references and prove to us that they are fully in compliance with all local and international labor laws, as well as all laws related to slavery and human trafficking. In addition, we require all vendors to attest, in writing, to their compliance. Once our products are in production, we continually monitor our supply chain vendors to verify their attested compliance, working very closely with them on weekly factory inspection visits. We undertake these verification efforts to ensure transparency and responsible manufacturing by our vendors.
Through our highly experienced and trained Supply Chain team, we personally audit our supply chain vendors in order to remain close to the process. As disclosed above, we perform comprehensive audits of business and factory operations of all new vendors. While vendors are notified of our visits, Lakeshore’s Supply Chain team inspects vendors on-site weekly and continually evaluates vendor compliance with international labor laws and laws regarding slavery and human trafficking. In addition to reviewing quality control, we audit the vendor’s general operations, equipment, materials, labor documentation, and safety and labor conditions. The audits are completed in the presence of the vendor’s key managers to impart Lakeshore’s best practices for responsible and ethical sourcing to appropriate personnel, and to ensure that any potential issues noted by our Supply Chain team are immediately addressed.
All of our supply chain vendors are required to complete an annual questionnaire about their labor practices, and to continue to certify in writing each year that they are in full compliance with all international labor laws and laws regarding slavery and human trafficking. As part of the required certification, we have a strict no-tolerance policy for human rights or labor law violations by our direct suppliers and their material subcontractors. If we discover or even remotely suspect that any of our supply chain vendors or their subcontractors are violating any international labor laws or any laws regarding slavery and human trafficking, we immediately cease doing business with them.
Our internal Supply Chain management team takes on the comprehensive vendor auditing and inspection processes disclosed above in order to determine whether or not vendors are complying with Lakeshore standards and international laws. In addition to managing all vendor relations daily, Lakeshore team members report to Supply Chain management with a weekly report containing detailed inspection results of new and existing vendors. Any potential risk of noncompliance is immediately reported to Lakeshore and addressed with swift preventative or corrective action. We hold our internal managers and outside supply chain vendors equally responsible for meeting our high standards, requiring all employees and vendors to comply with all applicable labor laws. Violations of Lakeshore policy or labor laws are subject to disciplinary action, which includes employee termination or business termination with the vendor.
As part of our commitment to creating innovative educational materials for children, we are dedicated to educating and training our own Supply Chain team to uphold our high standards for responsible manufacturing. Having decades of experience in international operations and formal accreditation in ethical manufacturing and supply processes, the leaders of our Supply Chain team provide hands-on internal training to our Supply Chain staff to identify and mitigate risks related to international labor laws and human rights violations when performing factory inspections. The internal training includes a number of components involved in vendor audits and inspections, such as how to review the documentation received from vendors that attest to compliance and noting potential signs of noncompliance during inspections of worker conditions and facilities. With our continual training and collaborative internal efforts, our Supply Chain team is able to perform hundreds of comprehensive audits and inspections throughout the year to ensure full compliance.
Lakeshore is a proud supporter of labor and basic human rights for all individuals. We will continue to update our policies and procedures as needed to ensure we have the right safeguards in place to ensure all people involved in the production of our products, whether Lakeshore employees or not, are treated with dignity and respect.