The garment industry employs millions of people around the world and is an important creator of income in many developing countries, especially for women and families. FatFace doesn’t own garment factories, instead we work with over 150 factories across 14 countries.
The relationships between ourselves and our top 20 suppliers are based on trust and longevity, with our top 20 suppliers having a combined 160 year relationship with FatFace. We pride ourselves on working with manufacturing partners that share our values, meet our high expectations and recognise that we have a duty to understand and address social and environmental issues that may exist within our supply chain, working together with key partners and stakeholders in order to create sustainable change.
In 2016 we introduced an updated supplier code of conduct, ‘The FatFace Way of Life’, and requested FatFace product suppliers to sign up to this in order to promote fair, safe and environmentally conscious working environments. This now forms a fundamental part of our relationship with existing and new manufacturing partners. In order to continuously review the performance of our sourcing partners against our code of conduct we are members of the collaborative SEDEX4 platform that enables us to analyse 3rd party audit assessments.
In addition we also conduct verification assessments of our key manufacturing partners. In 2015/16, 85% of our manufacturing partners had signed our code of conduct and 89% had undergone a 3rd party audit or verification assessment. During the year we also held regular supplier meetings and facilitated workshops in Delhi and China involving over 40 of our manufacturing partners, where we shared our responsible sourcing expectations alongside outlining new legislative requirements, including the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
We have developed and began implementing a supplier improvement programme (SIP) with the aim of delivering sustainable improvements within our supply chain. Through this programme we have worked closely with 7 factories to deliver targeted improvements in the areas of health and safety, worker communication and environmental performance. This has included the implementation of a training workshop in Shanghai for factory management and an anonymous worker survey involving over 200 worker voices in southern China. In 2016/17 we will continue to move this work forward to implement improved workers communication systems to enhance the working environment.
Creating positive change at a scale that reflects the globalised nature of our supply chain requires collaboration and engagement at an international level.
Our active membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative is a fundamental cornerstone to deepening our understanding of sourcing challenges whilst enabling us to build collaborative cross industry relationships to address issues.
In 2012 FatFace became a signatory to the Bangladesh Accord for building and fire safety along with 226 other retail brands and manufacturers globally. We’re proud of the progress being made to date with over 60% of the corrective actions originally identified within our manufacturing partner sites in Bangladesh now resolved.
In order to create quality products that our customers feel proud to wear we believe that sustainability should be built into the product from design. An example of this is our approach to leather which is a key part of ensuring we offer high-quality products to our customers yet it is also a product that can, if manufactured incorrectly, have damaging impacts on people, animals and the natural environment. As a result, we introduced our supply partners to our strict animal welfare policy in 2014 which won the support of animal welfare charity PETA and in 2015/16 joined the multi-disciplinary Leather Working Group with the aim of ensuring that we source leather from tanneries that uphold stringent environmental standards.