I wrote to a number of clothing companies last week as part of the Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops campaign. As usual, the replies claim that all is above board, but it’s strange how different people find different things when they go looking for abuses of foreign workers.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the replies I’ve had so far.
We do indeed work very closely with all our suppliers and factories and provide them with a code of conduct to ensure that the materials they use adhere to our standards. We recognise our responsibility towards the workers employed in factories, manufacturing products on our behalf and work closely with our suppliers to set standards by which they must operate, these are policed during regular visits to factories. Within our code of conduct we confirm that suppliers provide working conditions for its workers which are safe and which exceed the minimum legal standards for the country in question, do not employ workers who are below the applicable legal working age, pay their workers fair remuneration for the work required of them and in any event, above any legally imposed minimum wage, maintain good standards of comfort and hygiene and adhere to safe and environmentally friendly working practices.
We are not currently members of the ETI although we are in the process of reviewing and updating our policies, procedures and standards to ensure they are up-to-date with current guidance. We also intend to publish our policies and standards on completion of the review.
We do not hide behind the ETI base code. With thousands of people involved in our global supply chain, our policy is to work with a factory and or individual if the code is breached in anyway.
Alexon Group (Dash, Ann Harvey and others):
Ethical policy… is a focus for Alexon Group that we are committed to developing. In addition to our current processes of visiting our factories globally to ensure stringent working practices are adhered to, we are building upon further initiatives that we will be proud to implement and communicate in coming months, with our valued customers and with organisations such as Labour Behind the Label, who recently published its Let’s Clean Up Fashion report.
We support the concept of a living wage but this is an extremely complex issue which we believe many parties including national governments, suppliers and retailers all play a role. Where we have concerns we work with our suppliers and other third parties to improve as our approach is to build long-term relationships with our suppliers and their workers.