Sonoco Products Company - Supplier Standards

Sonoco’s strategic mission statement is to be the global leader in providing customer- preferred packaging solutions to selected value-added segments, where we expect to be either number one or two in market share. Shareholder return, customer and employee satisfaction, commitment to excellence, integrity, environmental stewardship and a safe workplace will continue to be the hallmarks of our culture.

Since the conduct of our suppliers can be a direct reflection on Sonoco and our reputation, we require that our suppliers, and any of their contractors, meet the standards as detailed below. Sonoco shall work with suppliers to implement and at our discretion monitor these standards through on-site audits.

Code of Conduct

Suppliers shall be aware of, and abide by, the Sonoco Standard Policies on Business Conduct as noted on, with special attention towards the sections on anti-trust, illegal payments and retaliation. If you need a copy of this code of conduct, please see your Supply Management representative or download here.

Environmental Awareness

Sonoco’s focus on sustainability is directly linked to and in support of its mission statement. We believe that initiatives around enhancing our reputation, being a strong corporate citizen, providing a good place to work and being a good steward of our environmental resources will make us a stronger, more competitive company, better able to support and satisfy our broad customer base and provide shareholders with average annual double-digit total returns.

In today’s competitive global marketplace, the issues relevant to supporting sustainability are directly linked to Sonoco’s long-term profitability and viability. We believe that sustainability and business success are not only compatible but are inextricably linked and that by embracing both, we will benefit our shareholders for the long term.

Sonoco’s commitment to the sustainability statement outlined above is an integral part of our identity and how we operate. As such, we expect all our suppliers to support these same principles. Specifically, Sonoco expects its suppliers to develop sourcing methods, goals and reporting for, and to make efforts to control and reduce, key sustainability metrics including greenhouse gases (GHGs), water and energy consumption, solid waste, volatile organic compound (VOC) and hazardous air pollutant (HAP) production. Suppliers shall demonstrate leadership in mindful use of plastics while increasing the recyclability of packaging material supplied. Suppliers shall also contribute to recyclable product collection, sorting and solutions to mitigate plastics and/or other products ending up in landfill or as litter. All suppliers shall make commercially reasonable efforts to pursue these objectives and cooperate reasonably with Sonoco’s efforts in this respect.

Suppliers accept that they have an ethical responsibility to protect the environment in which they operate and will conduct all business in accordance with all local and national laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which they operate.

Social Responsibility

Suppliers shall employ based on an individual’s ability to do the job and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity or expression, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any legally protected characteristic.

Suppliers are expected to develop sourcing methods, goals, reporting and efforts to encourage their use of minority, LGBT, Veteran, Disabled and women-owned suppliers or other historically disadvantaged suppliers. Each supplier shall use commercially reasonable efforts for the use of such sub-suppliers to reach or exceed 5% of Sonoco’s annual spend with such supplier. If requested, suppliers shall report to Sonoco the amount of such sub-supplier spending quarterly.


Employees shall be fairly compensated through wages and benefits which meet or exceed any prevailing local standards and are in compliance with local and national laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which the suppliers are doing business.

Hours of Labor
Suppliers shall operate such that employee working hours are in compliance with local standards and applicable laws of the jurisdictions in which the suppliers are doing business. Sonoco will not work with any suppliers who require employees to work in excess of the statutory limitations without proper compensation as required by applicable law. Employees should be permitted reasonable days off and leave privileges.

Child Labor and Forced Labor
Sonoco complies with the “California Transparency in the Supply Chain Act” and expects all suppliers to take a proactive role to ensure they also comply. Under no circumstances will suppliers utilize or benefit from child labor, prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor, or use corporal punishment or other forms of mental and physical coercion as a form of discipline. In the absence of any national or local law, the definition of a ‘child’ is 15 years of age. If local law sets the minimum age below 15 but is in accordance with the International Labor Organization Convention 138, the lower age will apply.

Immigration Law and Compliance
Suppliers will only utilize or benefit from workers with a legal right to work in the jurisdictions in which they are doing business.

Work Environment

Suppliers shall provide a safe and healthful work environment for the protection of its employees which meets and exceeds all local or national health and safety laws and regulations. At any time that a supplier’s employees or agents are in a Sonoco facility or in proximity to Sonoco’s employees, the supplier shall require its employees or agents to comply with Sonoco’s policies and requirements regarding the presence of supplier employees or agents on Sonoco’s premises, including passing applicable background checks. Suppliers shall follow, and cause their employees and other agents to follow, Sonoco’s policy that being under the influence of, bringing in, possessing, providing, manufacturing or other production of, buying, selling or using alcoholic beverages, unauthorized drugs or controlled substances, or possessing weapons, on Sonoco’s property or in Sonoco’s vehicles, is strictly prohibited.

Grievance Process
Suppliers shall provide a grievance process for employees to identify workplace concerns to management.

Antiharassment and Abuse
Suppliers shall ensure that their employees are afforded an employment environment that is free from physical, psychological, and verbal harassment, or other abusive conduct. Suppliers shall not threaten workers with, or subject them to, harsh or inhumane treatment, including, but not limited to, mental or physical coercion and sexual harassment.

Product/Service Assumptions

Suppliers shall take due care to ensure their work product meets Sonoco’s quality standards. Suppliers shall have in place quality assurance processes to identify defects and implement corrective actions and to facilitate the delivery of a product whose quality meets or exceeds the contract requirements.

Verbal Communications
Suppliers shall be aware that oral commitments of any kind, including modifications and supplements to terms and conditions of purchase, must be confirmed in writing by Sonoco to become effective.

Suppliers shall adhere to agreed periods and dates previously set for deliveries. Time is of the essence in performing deliveries. Should Suppliers experience or anticipate any delay in performing, Supplier shall immediately notify Sonoco of such delay, its expected duration and the reasons thereof. Neither such notification nor an acknowledgment by Sonoco will constitute a waiver of a specified delivery schedule. The delivery schedule will not be modified unless the parties do so in writing.

Quantity Integrity
Suppliers shall understand if questions of delivery quantities arise, the values established by Sonoco during incoming goods inspection will be used as the absolute after comparisons with Supplier. This includes but is not exclusive to, quantities, weights, and measurements.

Business Continuity 
Supplier shall be subject to the terms of any specific contractual provisions that apply. Suppliers shall have an adequate business continuity plans in place to continue to provide services to a reasonable degree in the aftermath of any kind of operational crisis, whether it is caused by a natural disaster, equipment malfunction, power failure, terrorist act or so forth. Upon request of Sonoco suppliers shall disclose and discuss in reasonable detail the elements of its business continuity plan.

In addition to complying with our security requirements, suppliers are encouraged to implement practices and procedures to ensure the security of their people, property, and other assets, including their supply chain. Suppliers are encouraged to participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism initiative of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Fair Competition
Suppliers must not engage in illegal cooperation with competitors including bid rigging, price fixing, market allocations, or any other prohibited conduct that limits free and fair competition.

Data and Web Presence

Suppliers shall take care to safeguard and protect information entrusted to them, as well as information generated or developed by them, from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure. Suppliers are encouraged to maintain risked-based cybersecurity programs designed to mitigate emerging threats to their information systems, products, services, and supply chain while complying with all applicable contractual and legal requirements.

Suppliers shall take appropriate steps to safeguard any information that could lead to the identification of individuals (“Personal Information”), including information that identifies individuals in combination with other information. Suppliers should develop and maintain key cybersecurity controls designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets within their operations. These controls should include the protection of information assets against malware, the education and training of personnel on cyber topics, monitoring of technology environments for cyber-related events, and providing for business continuity and resiliency following a cyber-attack or technology failure. Suppliers shall process and protect the personal information of Sonoco personnel and other third parties in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations while using this information only for intended business purposes

Social Media
Suppliers shall educate and train employees on use of social media which should be broadly understood to include blogs, wikis, microblogs, message boards, chat rooms, electronic newsletters, online forums, social networking sites, and other sites and services that permit users to share information with others in a contemporaneous manner. Such education and training must include that supplier employees must not give the impression that they are speaking on behalf of Sonoco or misrepresent or disparage Sonoco in any combination or online user forums. Although it is not an exclusive list, some specific examples of prohibited social media conduct include posting commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous, or that can create a hostile work environment. Any request to publish Sonoco-related content or images must go through a request and review process that can be initiated by contacting your Supply Management representative.

Gifts & Business Courtesies

We compete on the merits of our products and services and do not use the exchange of business courtesies to gain an unfair competitive advantage. We expect the same of our suppliers in the offering or receipt of any gift or business courtesy, including cash and cash equivalents. In particular, note that our employees who are in any way involved in procurement decisions are subject to even more strict limitations, and may not accept any business courtesies, with the exception of very low value promotional items. In any business relationship, our suppliers must ensure that the offering or receipt of any gift or business courtesy is permitted by law and regulation; does not violate the rules and standards of the recipient’s organization; is consistent with reasonable marketplace customs; and will not adversely impact the reputation of Sonoco.

Conflict of Interest

Suppliers shall avoid conflicts of interest or situations giving the appearance of a potential conflict of interest in their dealings with Sonoco. Suppliers shall provide notification to affected parties if an actual or potential conflict of interest arises, including conflicts between the interest of Sonoco and the personal interest of a Suppliers employees or those of close relatives, friends, or business associates of a supplier or its employees. Any concerns should be addressed to your Supply Management representative.