Our suppliers provide the products and services that keep our business running. We spend around £13 billion a year with more than 1,100 direct suppliers in nearly 100 countries.

Any supplier that wants to work with us has to commit to our ‘Sourcing with Human Dignity’ labour standards or equivalent – as well as other standards on climate change, the environment, ethics, health and safety, and product stewardship.  

We use a risk-based approach to assess suppliers’ performance. This starts by understanding the level of risk when a supplier first comes on board or renews their contract with us. One of the factors that determines the level of risk is where a supplier operates.

If we assess a supplier as medium- or high-risk, we ask for more information and follow this up with an on-site assessment if needed. If we find they’re struggling to meet our standards, we work together to try and work it out. But if they don’t show a commitment to improve, we’ll stop working with them. 

Looking deeper into the supply chain

We use artificial intelligence to map the supply chains for the products of all three of our brands (BT, EE, and Plusnet) and identify associated human rights risks, including the risk of modern slavery.  We enjoy around 1,800 supplier relationships across Tiers, 2, 3 and 4. Some suppliers appear over 20 times. Through our membership of the Responsible Business Alliance, we can delve into in-depth assessments of shared suppliers at all levels of our supply chain.

We also prevent raw materials associated with the risk of funding armed conflict (known as conflict minerals) – or with other issues such as working conditions and child labour – from being used in our products. These materials include cobalt, gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten.

See our Modern Slavery Statement for more on our approach.