Ethical sourcing31/08/2009 10:52
Suchille Clothings has enjoyed significant success and growth in its years. With this growth and success we have seen a great deal of change in our business, not least in the number and location of suppliers that we work with around the country. We can now provide our customers with expertise and quality sourced from many different locations.
With such benefits comes great responsibility. We have a responsibility to our supply partners, customers, and shareholders to ensure that SC's products are produced in acceptable conditions and in an ethical way. This responsibility is central to how we operate as a business.
In July 2008, SC adopted the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code throughout our global supply chain. We were accepted as members of the ETI in March 2009. The ETI is a ground breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations who work together to improve the working lives of people across the globe who make or grow consumer goods. For more information on the ETI please see www.ethicaltrade.org.
SC takes its responsibilities for the ethical treatment of workers in its supply chain very seriously. Whilst we acknowledge that many issues associated with ethical trading cannot be solved overnight, we believe that sustainable and significant change is an achievable goal if we work in collaboration with other companies, trade unions and NGO's. Ethical trade is a challenge. We are putting a framework in place that will enable us to improve.
The ASOS Ethical Code of Conduct
- Compliance with local laws
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of Association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labour shall not be used
- Living wages are paid
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practised
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
- Environmental protection
- Communication and supervision
How we implement the Ethical Code of Conduct
In common with the many other high street products, SC label materials are made mainly in Ghana, Cotonuo, and Nigeria. As part of our ethical trade programme we have mapped all the suppliers and factories we use, and engaged a leading independent social audit company to inspect them on our behalf. A report is made on each one indicating where the factory complies or does not comply with each of the provisions of our Code of Conduct.
Where there is a non-compliance we set targets and an action plan for improvement, and work alongside our supplier to help them get their factory up to the correct standard. This might involve additional training for supervisors, practical support on health and safety or a discussion on how to improve management practice or record keeping. If in the unlikely event that a supplier refuses to co-operate with us, we reserve the right to stop working with that factory. We prefer though, to help suppliers improve standards, as this is of more direct benefit to workers.
We have an internal training programme to raise awareness of our responsibilities. Our technical and Corporate Social Responsibility team is trained in social auditing and our buyers and merchandisers in ethical purchasing practices. We have also trained over 100 of our managers in ethical principles and carried out workshops for other departments including finance, marketing, PR, customer care and facilities. We are bringing ethical trade into our core competency framework so that career progression includes the implementation of ethical principles.
SC wants fashion to be cruelty free. We do not permit the use of fur or endangered animal skin in SC brand products. We require our suppliers to guarantee that leather or skin products do not come from endangered species, and are produced ethically and without cruelty.
ASOS.com is a CarbonNeutral® company. This means that the CO2 emissions from supplier's energy use, business travel, non-recyclable waste, deliveries and commuting have been measured and reduced to net zero through verified carbon offset projects. These include reforestation projects in Nigeria and Tanzania.
For more information about CarbonNeutral® and to see some detail on these projects visit www.carbonneutral.com
SC brand clothing carries wash care labels encouraging customers to launder their garments at cooler temperatures but prepared otherwise if a customer objects. With the launch of SC Marketplace, we are also enabling customers to recycle their fashion.
We are working hard to reduce airfreight. Since October 2008 SC has reduced inbound airfreight from 75% to 10% (measured by value of goods transported).