Ethical Production

Ethical production is a partnership between our business and our suppliers. Whilst we have clearly defined expectations outlined in our 14 Rules To Trade, we are also committed to making improvements to the environments in which our suppliers operate. The Cotton On Group is a proud signatory to the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord and through an additional initiative have now introduced medical services ( Bangladesh Mobile Healthcare Clinic).

SUPPLIER PARTNERSHIPS

Cotton On Group suppliers and the products they create are the backbone of our business.

We invest in maintaining loyal, long-term partnerships based on trust and mutual respect. We have an innate understanding of our suppliers, their culture, systems and processes and develop a clear set of expectations they have of us, and we have of them.

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  • 61% of our product comes from our top 20% of supplier partnerships providing greater confidence in the diligence applied by our vendors in relation to our 14 Rules To Trade.
  • We have supplier partnerships that have been in place for 15 or more years.
 

14 Rules To Trade

We only partner with people and organisations that share our value system.

We expect all our suppliers to abide by our 14 Rules To Trade and we have zero tolerance of any supplier breaching the following 14 rules.

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In January 2014, in addition to our Rules To Trade, we introduced a more robust Cotton On Group Ethical Sourcing Audit. This audit covers in detail the areas of Fire and Safety, Worker Rights and Conditions, Environment, Waste Management and Worker Interviews.

Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord

The Cotton On Group is a proud signatory of the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord.

In June 2013, the Cotton On Group signed the Accord along with a group of over 200 global brands. Together, we made a commitment to improve the working conditions of workers in Bangladesh and our Group Risk Manager and Ethical Sourcing Manager play an active part in working with the Accord.

The Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord is an independent agreement designed to make all signatory garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces. It includes independent fire safety inspections at factories, electrical and structural engineering tests, and public reporting of the results of these inspections.

The Accord is a legally binding agreement. It has been signed by over 200 apparel brands from 20 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia; two global trade unions, IndustriALL and UNI; and numerous Bangladeshi unions. Clean Clothes Campaign, Workers’ Rights Consortium, International Labour Rights Forum and Maquila Solidarity Network are NGO witnesses to the Accord. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) acts as the independent chair.

In addition to being a part of the Accord, we are consistently reviewing our internal Ethical Sourcing Program, which is now in its fifth year in China and third year in Bangladesh. This ensures our procedures effectively align with the Accord framework whilst working with our factory partners in Bangladesh to ensure standards are being met, now and in the future. To read more about our Ethical Sourcing, click here.

Bangladesh Mobile Healthcare Clinic

The Cotton On Group is focused on enhancing the lives of those in the communities in which we operate.

In February 2014, in partnership with the Assenting Action for Changing of Livelihoods (AACHOL) Trust, we launched a mobile healthcare clinic in Bangladesh designed to provide basic healthcare support for the poor and destitute, giving them the opportunity for improved health.

Many areas in Bangladesh face extreme poverty, dealing with issues of overcrowded housing, inadequate nutrition, low levels of education and unsafe environments. This inevitably increases the chance of ill health and diseases such as tuberculosis, malnutrition, measles and malaria running rife in these communities. It is these communities who also face the biggest barriers in receiving medical support and health care because of cost and access.

The mobile healthcare project aims to help break this cycle by providing impoverished communities the opportunity to receive medical advice and treatment for free. The project saw an air-conditioned bus turned into a fully equipped mobile healthcare centre, complete with all the facilities of a small hospital, to provide healthcare to workers of two garment factories as well as two schools where children of garment workers study. By focusing on primary healthcare and protective measures for disease control, this pilot program helps to meet the gap in the provision of healthcare in Bangladesh, where the current focus is on post-disease treatment rather than prevention.

Currently the medical team consists of a permanent doctor specialising in children and gynaecology, and a permanent, highly experienced nurse.

To date more than 20,000 patients have been treated with many receiving primary care for identified illnesses, advice on health management and referrals to additional services as required.

Cruelty Free

At the Cotton On Group, we pride ourselves on offering our customers products that are ethically sourced and produced.

This means we do not allow animal testing on any of our cosmetic or personal care products.

Our efforts in this space have earned us a cruelty-free accreditation from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which means we do not conduct or commission animal testing on ingredients, formulations or finished products and that we pledge not to do so in the future.

This committment to being cruelty-free extends right the way through our supply chain ensuring our manufacturers and all products distributed by us must abide by these terms.

For more information on PETA, please follow the link: http://www.peta.org.au/

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