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Ethical factories

It’s a work in progress.

Knowing who participates in our supply chain, meeting them and checking their operations, is important to us.

We have achieved this with our tier 1 suppliers, and we are working on our tiers 2 and 3.


Ok, so how do we get there? And what does ‘visibility’ and ‘transparency’ actually mean?

Visibility

Visibility

Means we have traced to the source all the raw material and all facilities that are involved in the processing and manufacturing of that material.

Transparency.

Transparency.

Means we know who they are. We have met them, visited their facilities and conducted our own audits.

The good news is we have achieved transparency with the tier 1 factories that make our clothes.

Full transparency of our tier 2 and 3 suppliers is not so easy. Visibility is our first step, and we are on that journey. In future reports we‘ll share our progress.

Keeping our eye on the ball with tier 1

In 2016 we launched our Supplier Code of Conduct policy. Every tier 1 factory that supplies us agrees to comply with this policy and they are regularly audited by our audit partner QUALSPEC SgT, to ensure compliance.

Our journey towards ethical factories.


As you can see, our journey to sustainability began some time ago, with the introduction of our auditing programme, which we’ve been developing since 2015.

Our Social & Ethical Compliance Auditing programme operates across our entire supplier-base. This programme consists of conducting annual factory audits. Our external audit partner, QUALSPEC SgT, undertakes these on our behalf.

The purpose of these audits is to ensure that our suppliers are following our Supplier Code of Conduct.

Visibility and transparency - the FY20 audit findings.

To give you a better picture of how we are tracking with our supply chain auditing, here are our results for FY20.

Workers’ welfare and safety is a really important aspect of our Code of Conduct, and a cornerstone of our Ethical Factory programme. Auditing is essential for transparency and having visibility into a typical day within a factory.

Positive change in our supplier factories comes as a result of

strong partnerships between us and our suppliers. Understanding context, culture and values leads to open dialogue, respect and better communication. All of this helps us resolve non-compliance issues and deliver ongoing improvements.

That said, most of our factories have some non-compliance breaches that come up in audits. The audit helps us identify root causes and any systemic weaknesses.


THE FIVE MOST COMMON NON-COMPLIANCES ARE:

1. Factory not paying all mandatory social benefits (China specific).

2. Emergency exit routes not posted in all areas of the factory.

3. Overtime exceeds 36 hours month. (In China the working week is 40 hours and

allowed overtime is 36 hours per month).

4. First aider photos not posted in factory.

5. Machinery inspection records not up to date.

Here’s what we’re doing to promote this:

Inno Community Development Organisation (INNO)

Inno Community Development Organisation (INNO)

We have partnered with Chinese Non-governmental organisations (NGO) INNO – by implementing the ‘Handshake Workers Programme’ which supports worker voices and grievances. We believe this is a perfect fit, as INNO is Chinese based, providing support right where the majority of our suppliers are located. INNO is a whistle blower hotline that workers can access via QR code posted in the factory, enabling direct communication to INNO employees.

Responsible Sourcing Network

Responsible Sourcing Network

We support the Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), a programme dedicated to ending human rights abuses and forced labour associated with the raw materials found in everyday products.

Democratically elected worker representatives.

Democratically elected worker representatives.

In China independent unions are illegal. So we prioritise factories that have democratically elected worker representatives and functioning grievance mechanisms within the factory.