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PRINCESS POLLY SUSTAINABILITY GLOSSARY

THE UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

We know the importance of building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future to put people, the planet and our community first. That’s why we’re participants of the United Nations Global Compact and have aligned our sustainability mission with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainable Development Goals encourage us to centralise on the most important issues facing our world and we’ve identified 9 of 17 SDGs to which we can best contribute, focussing on health, education, protection and wellbeing throughout our supply chain. We are proud of the accomplishments we shared with the United Nations Global Compact in our first annual Communication on Progress report.

RESPONSIBLE SOURCING

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.

Our ethical sourcing program ensures that our expectations on the fair and sustainable treatment of people, animals and the planet are upheld throughout our supply chain.

THIS PROGRAM IS BUILT ON EIGHT KEY DOCUMENTS:

  • 1
    OUR HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY
  • Applies to the team, our supply chain, and our customers.

  • 2
    OUR CODE OF CONDUCT
    3
    OUR ETHICAL SOURCING GUIDELINES
    4
    OUR CHILD AND FORCED LABOUR POLICY
  • These documents apply to our suppliers – including our factories and others in our supply chain – and outline our standards and expectations for the treatment of workers

  • 5
    OUR ROUTING MANUAL
    6
    OUR ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY
  • These documents outline our standards and expectations for how our products are made, including the treatment of animals and use of animal products.

  • 7
    OUR GENDER EQUALITY POLICY
  • This document guides our team to create better experiences for women in our supply chain.

  • 8
    OUR RESPONSIBLE PURCHASING POLICY
  • This document establishes a standard for how we interact with all our suppliers

These independent audits are carried out to determine if our factories’ practises correspond to 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 with 98% of audits taking place any day within a 2 week period (semi announced), and 2% taking place on any day of the year without advance notice (unannounced). 

THE CODE OF CONDUCT

This is a super important one! We require that all suppliers agree to our Code of Conduct. It sits underneath the Princess Polly Human Rights Policy.
The reason this is so important is that it sets clear, reasonable and realistic terms by which we can do business – without compromising on our existing commitments to people and planet. It covers our expectations on:

  • Employment Practices
    Employment Practices
  • Modern Slavery
    Modern Slavery
  • Child Labour
    Child Labour
  • Freedom Of Association
    Freedom Of Association
  • Fair Wages
    Fair Wages
  • Working Hours
    Working Hours
  • Equality, Respect & Dignity
    Equality, Respect & Dignity
  • Health & Safety
    Health & Safety
  • Environment
    Environment
  • Raw Materials & Processing
    Raw Materials & Processing
  • Land Rights
    Land Rights
  • Grievance,  Mechanisms & Whistleblowing
    Grievance, Mechanisms & Whistleblowing
  • Compliance
    Compliance
  • Inspection
    Inspection

Once a factory audit is completed, we work with our suppliers to break down the report and create a remediation plan. By July 2021, 54% of our factories had received a Gold or Silver rating, and 83% had remediation plans in place to continue to improve their audit results over time, which has a positive influence on their employees’ experience.

Our factories have all-year-round access to training and support, including digital training modules, giving them the tools and knowledge to understand and rectify the root cause of any issues raised in an audit. In 2021, we especially focused on remediating any issues relating to the working hours and wages of factory employees. In 2022, we will continue to support our factories and rectify any serious issues if they do arise. 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.

RESPECT AND EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM PILOT

Respect and empowerment are critical elements of our Human Rights Policy. To strengthen how we utilise these values in practice, Princess Polly, alongside our partner Elevate, piloted an in-factory train-the-trainer program for three factories. All levels of management were guided to understand and act on these values, and to pass on this knowledge to all factory workers. The program builds knowledge to effectively and collaboratively encourage a respectful workplace with an emphasis on anti-discrimination, women empowerment, refining policies and managing effective grievance channels.

WORKER SENTIMENT SURVEYS

With the help of our ethical sourcing partner Elevate, we have conducted anonymous worker sentiment surveys in our factories across China and India. These surveys include 20 questions that are designed to effectively capture employee sentiment on key issues relating to working conditions. The focus areas are grievance mechanisms, wages and hours, work atmosphere, safety and productivity, workforce stability and workforce demographics. It is voluntary for each worker to participate.

SUBCONTRACTING & TRACEABILITY

We do not outsource to other manufacturers where we can’t be sure our ethical standards are being upheld. We have a strict ‘no order subcontracting’ policy for our suppliers, meaning they can’t send our orders to different factories that we don’t have visibility of. We ask all our factories to let us know if they are outsourcing any part of their work to other factories, if they don’t have the technical abilities onsite at the time. These subcontracted processes, (such as printing graphics onto tops) make up our tier two suppliers. This is a list of all our Tier One factories. 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.

WHO MAKES YOUR CLOTHES?

  • APPAREL

  • ACCESSORIES

  • FOOTWEAR

  • PACKAGING

LIAONING ~ 3%

SHANDONG ~ 8%

JIANGSU ~ 10%

ZHEJIANG ~ 11%

JIANGXI ~ 3%

HUNAN ~ 2%

GUANDONG ~ 56%

GUANGXI ~ 2%

HARYANA ~ 1%

DELHI ~ 2%

UTTAR PRADESH ~ 3%

Princess Polly works with 72 factories and over 4500 workers in India and China

ADDRESSING MODERN SLAVERY

Modern slavery is an incredibly serious issue that we believe must be addressed indepth and at all levels. 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. 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.

RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Our priorities in response to Covid-19 were, and continue to be, to keep everyone involved with Princess Polly safe and healthy, to honour all of our commitments and to maintain our business operations as much as possible. Learn more about our approach in our first Modern Slavery Statement.

So far, all planned site visits and auditing have been able to go ahead safely. If there is an outbreak, (meaning, an audit is unable to be scheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions), Princess Polly will either organise a virtual audit or, will postpone until it is safe to return to the factory. We provide training links covering Safe Return to Work Principles after COVID outbreaks, and offer support to ensure all workers stay safe by pausing production in locked-down facilities and re-negotiating lead times.  

We recognise that the pandemic is far from over. As it continues to develop and unfold, we are committed to learning, acting, staying adaptable and proactive, and supporting everyone involved with Princess Polly, especially those most vulnerable in our supply chain.

OUR GRIEVANCE HOTLINE

As a part of our due diligence, we firmly believe that our factories should have access to robust and effective grievance channels that aid in identifying and addressing any potential impact on our workers’. As a result, we have piloted a Speak Up Helpline in partnership with Elevate to offer an anonymous worker grievance channel. Many of our factories have established grievance channels in place, however, in cases where we have identified ineffective or no existing grievance procedures, these factories will have access to the Speak Up Helpline.

The helpline can be accessed via a QR code found on posters throughout the factory as well as business cards handed out to workers during on-site visits. Our social compliance manager handles the cases and provides full support to workers and information on workers’ rights in the workplace. Any reports received are managed within the appropriate timeframes with actionable remediation plans based on the severity.

WORKING TOWARDS A LIVING WAGE

Princess Polly believes every person has the right to a standard of living that adequately supports them and their families, and that this is achieved through fair compensation. We acknowledge that this is one of the foremost challenges of the fashion industry, and are committed to playing our role in the advancement of this discussion and promoting conditions within our supply chain that make it possible for every worker to receive a living wage.

We use the widely accepted definition of living wage provided by the Global Living Wage Coalition: 

Remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and his/her family for food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport, clothing, other essential needs and the provision of unexpected events. 

Like most fashion companies, we don’t own the factories that make our products, and therefore don’t directly pay workers’ salaries. While this creates a complex challenge, we’re proud of the change we’re already driving. Today, we have completed a living wage analysis of each of our factories in China and in 2022 will extend this to India. Check out our Commitment to a Living Wage to learn more about our roadmap.

woman laying on a couch

GENDER EQUALITY IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Through our Ethical Sourcing Program, Princess Polly aims to ensure all workers are respected, safe and healthy. However, we can’t achieve this goal without considering the unique experience of women in our supply chain and responding to their needs. We believe that women and men should be treated fairly according to their respective needs, while recognising that we have an opportunity to uplift the women who create products for Princess Polly and are present in the communities adjacent to our factories.

Taking guidance from our numerous touchpoints with factory managers and workers, including our worker sentiment surveys, Supplier Assessment Questionnaires, audit results and insights from industry thought leaders, we have collaboratively built our Gender Equality Policy. This focuses on assessing our current practices and experiences and creating strategies for improvement. One of the first steps we took was recognising ways our practices have the potential to disadvantage women and rectifying this through our Code of Conduct.

As of May 2021, Princess Polly works with 90 factories, with 11,300 workers, and 28 mills, with 3200 workers, where 7400 (51%) of whom are women. Women are well represented in senior positions; 41% of factory supervisors and 44% of factory managers are female, and 50% of promotions went to women. Women are also well represented on worker committees, accounting for 48% of members.

We are also in the process of surveying each worker at the factories and mills we work with. Of the 42 surveys we’ve done so far:

- 74% of women are comfortable talking directly to a supervisor at work

- 75% of women workers are clear on wage calculation

- 73% of women recommend their facility as a good place to work

On the other hand, only two people took maternity and paternity leave in the past year. We’re working with our factories to learn more about this. 

Princess Polly has teamed up with HERproject, which is an initiative run by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) that develops tailor-made workplace education programs that empower women in supply chains. We recently launched a locally tailored HERhealth program with 25 factories to educate women with information and access to services they need to maintain their health. In addition to education, the 10-month program aims to improve self-esteem,confidence and strengthen workplace policies to support worker well-being further. By 2025, we will further empower 3000 women in our supply chain communities by providing training on work and life skills.

We celebrate all gender identities, and are specifically working towards Sustainable Development Goal number 5 (SDG5), which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.

  • woman leaning against a corner
  • woman leaning on a counter wearing a white top and blue jeans

RESPONSIBLE PURCHASING PRACTICES

Princess Polly is dedicated to implementing responsible purchasing practices that uphold our Code of Conduct underpinned by our Human Rights Policy. We recognise that our purchasing decisions can have a significant effect on the people in our supply chain and as a business, ensuring our workers are respected, safe and healthy is at the forefront of all our decisions.

Taking guidance from the Joint Ethical Trading Initiative’s ‘Guide to Buying Responsibly’ the Princess Polly’s Merchandise Team has collaboratively defined responsible sourcing and purchasing behaviours we implement across all levels of our supply chain. Read more about this in our Responsible Purchasing Policy.

RESTRICTED SUBSTANCE LIST

The materials we choose to create our products, where they come from and how we protect our people, animals and the environment matters. We’re committed to reducing the use of hazardous substances in our supply chain and ensuring that our manufacturing and finished products do not put any undue risk to our customers or the workers in our supply chain. We also prohibit the use of chemicals considered harmful or toxic, defined through adoption of the AFIRM Restricted Substance List (RSL) and California’s Proposition 65.

We require our direct suppliers to avoid use of those substances listed in this RSL and to test all new materials for compliance. Princess Polly continuously monitors compliance through conducting spot checks in independent testing facilities.