Responsible for people
Our general approach to a sustainable business means to focus on the needs and concerns of our employees, the workers in our supply chain and the environment.
Acting responsibly in all aspects of our business and being fully committed to respecting human rights will contribute to a sustainable, long-term success of our business. We do this by striving to operate responsibly along the entire value chain, by safeguarding the rights of our own employees and those of the workers who manufacture our products through our respective Code of Conducts.
In order to identify risks, we follow the due diligence approach in a systematic way. Since 2021 we conduct a risk assessment aligned with the Green Button certification and the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines. We cover the segments social, environmental and governance in the assessment. For every sourcing country, different product types and raw materials we identify issues occurring within our supply chain with a focus on the most salient risks to workers, farmers and other affected stakeholders. We cover all listed aspects from the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines, including for example child labor, forced labor, harrassement and gender-based violance as well as greenhouse gas emissions and waste. In a first step, we monitor several, reputable resources, just as public resources, media outlets and reports as well as information we gather during our ongoing stakeholder consultation. The stakeholder engagement process includes constant dialog with NGO’s, unions and other civil society organizations. We also collaborate with our suppliers to ensure we understand their perception on the risks to ensure our mitigation process includes necessary awareness raising or other activities. After the country or regional risks are laid out including product related specific risks, we go into detail to mitigate these risks. Some examples of risks could be highly embellished garment production in India with homework and its related risks, unregistered migrant workers or people under special protection wages and benefit risks in Turkey, hand stitched overcoat risks that apply to all regions we source from, different cotton picking and production risks such as forced or child labor as well as a chemical-intense viscose production which can impact workers and communities surrounding the plants.
In a next step, we conduct a risk mitigation process which is an integral part of our due diligence process. We know in global supply chains a brand’s position can have a positive impact. Our initial mitigation process comes from our supplier and factory selection. With our thorough onboarding process, we try to avoid certain risks from the beginning by selecting our partners carefully and do checks upon their social and environmental performance. The process is only the base - as problems can also come up in sound factories. With regular auditing, unplanned visits from our local staff, supplier training on emerging topics and a worker grievance mechanism which we already set up in Bangladesh, China, India and Turkey. Depending on how many mitigation measures we have in place in a sourcing country, the initial risk can be reduced during our risk assessment.
Our risk assessment is updated bi-annually and presented to our Buying, Product and Sourcing teams, in order to raise awareness. Hereby we especially focus on our zero tolerance issues which we identified as our prioritized risks: transparency, child and forced labor and imminent risks to workers life and health and safety.
Our risk assessment is shared internally to raise awareness for challenges in global supply chains and to apply our influence to affect change wherever human rights issues are linked to our business activities.