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ETHICAL SOURCING

ENSURING THAT EACH PERSON THAT WORKS TO MAKE OUR PRODUCTS IS SAFE, RESPECTED, AND THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS ARE PROTECTED.

ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM.

As a business, we see it as our responsibility – and privilege! – to look out for the welfare and safety of everyone that touches our products as they move along their journey to you.

Princess Polly is a participant of the United Nations Global Compact, and has aligned our Earth Club mission with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within our Ethical Sourcing impact area, we are focused on three Sustainable Development Goals where we believe we can best contribute to:

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

OUR COMMITMENT:

Ethical production is our number one focus. We have built long-lasting, strong relationships with our suppliers, and are committed to making sure everyone producing our garments works in an environment where their values are respected – check out our Human Rights Policy to learn more.

But what do we mean by ‘assess and continuously improve worker welfare’? Assessing is all about verifying how our values and standards are being applied in practice. To start, we require all our production factories to register with the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) - a world leading ethical trade organisation, working with businesses to improve working conditions in global supply chains. From there, all suppliers complete a self assessment as well as an independent audit.

These independent audits are done to understand how our factories’ practices reflect our Code of Conduct, including:

  • Modern slavery - No forced labour
  • No Child labour
  • Health and safety
  • Freedom of association
  • Fair Wages
  • Working hours
  • Equality, respect and dignity
  • Environment
  • Land rights
  • Grievance mechanisms and whistleblowing

An independent auditor visits the factory, checks policies, records, conditions and interviews production workers. Today, 100% of the factories which we work with have valid audits.

Continuous improvement is all about factory development. One way we support our factory partners is by assisting them to review any areas for improvement found during their audit and to implement changes to create a better work environment and worker experience. Today, 83% of our factories have audit remediation plans. We’re going beyond the audit process too - by collaborating with industry and leading partners we will provide training to management and workers, elevate worker voices, understand how we can ensure a living wage, and tackle other systemic issues which we can’t address alone.

To learn more about our other Primary Commitments, visit the Princess Polly Earth Club Hub.

WHO MAKES YOUR CLOTHES?

There are so many amazing people who are part of the process in creating your favourite Princess Polly pieces.

The first step to ensuring every single person who contributes to creating Princess Polly products is respected, safe and healthy, is to map out our supply chain. So far, we’ve traced 100% of our tier one suppliers (these are the factories which manufacture our products).

We have built long-lasting, strong relationships with our suppliers based in China for over 10 years. We do not outsource to other manufacturers where we can’t be sure our ethical standards are upheld, and we also have a strict ‘no order subcontracting’ policy for our suppliers, meaning they can’t send our orders to different factories which we don’t have visibility of.

Although it’s a start – this doesn’t tell us the whole story. We ask all our factories to let us know if they are outsourcing any part of their work to other factories, because they don’t have the technical ability in their factory. These subcontracted processes, such as printing graphics onto tops, make up our tier two suppliers. Our next goal is to trace and map our entire tier two supply chain by 2023, and extend where possible to our tier three and four supply chain.

RESPONSIBLE SOURCING

The second step in looking out for our worker safety and welfare is to work alongside our supply partners to ensure workers are treated according to our ethical sourcing policies. We’ve outlined the standards that we expect in our Human Rights Policy and our Code of Conduct, and have distributed these documents to our suppliers.

But how do we know these standards are being applied in practice? To start, by requiring all production factories to register with the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) and to undergo an independent audit. Sedex is a world leading ethical trade organisation, working with businesses to improve working conditions in global supply chains.

These independent audits are done to understand how our factories’ practices reflect our Code of Conduct. An independent auditor visits the factory, checks a selection of policies and records, and interviews production workers. 100% of the factories we work with have valid ethical audits.

Once a factory audit is completed, we work with our suppliers to break down the report and create a remediation plan (basically, items the auditor finds that can be improved, we’ll work to fix it). By July 2021, 54% of our factories were graded Gold or Silver and 83% of our factories have remediation plans to work to improve their audit results (or grading) over time, which inturn has a positive impact on their employees’ experience.

We also support our factories to access training and support, including digital training modules, so they have the tools and knowledge to understand and rectify the root cause of any issues raised in an audit. In 2021, we are especially focused on remediating any issues relating to working hours and wages of factory employees. If a serious issue does arise, it’s our policy to support the factory and attempt to get them back on track too. This means we’ll never immediately terminate a relationship as this can negatively impact that factory’s employees. We do however, have a zero tolerance policy for forced or child labor, in which case this would be reported to the authorities. 

Responsible Purchasing is very important to Princess Polly and we always seek feedback on how our practices may have contributed to a factory grading. We’ll continue to ensure we’re always on the right track to keep standards high and continually improving. 

ADDRESSING MODERN SLAVERY

Slavery continues to be a huge problem in the world today, with an estimated 40+ million individuals affected according to the Global Slavery Index. Modern slavery, at its broadest, refers to exploitation where a person cannot refuse or leave work because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception.

At Princess Polly, we take modern slavery incredibly seriously. We have a zero tolerance policy on child and forced labour. To make sure we know exactly what is happening in our own supply chain, we’ve undertaken a modern slavery assessment of our business and developed a plan to manage risks that are uncovered or may arise. Our entire Merchandise team is annually trained in Ethical Sourcing and Modern Slavery too, as we recognise that they play a crucial role in spotting potential human rights abuses in our supply chain, and we want to empower and equip our team to proactively apply Responsible Purchasing practices always.

In June 2021, we were proud to release our first Modern Slavery Statement. This will be something that we do each year as we continue to assess and improve our practices, and protect those that work with us.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

  • Complete auditing all tier one factories and support them to understand and address any non-compliant practices (Completed by July 2021)
  • Release our first Modern Slavery Statement (Completed by July 2021)
  • Trace our tier two supply chain, and extend were possible to our tier three and four supply chain
  • Ensure all workers voices are heard through access to an effective worker committee and grievance mechanism
  • Conduct a wage analysis of factories and pilot an initiative to transition from minimum wage to a living wage
  • Empower 3000 women in our supply chain communities by providing training on work and life skills