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Bangladesh: worker empowerment is a focus for the Group

Cotton On Group Top Performer in 2017 Australian Fashion Report

19th April, 2017

The Cotton On Group is pleased to have been highlighted as a top performing fashion retailer in Australia, receiving an A- in this year’s Baptist World Aid (BWA) Australian Fashion Report.

The Australian Fashion Report solidifies the Group’s commitment to ethical and sustainable retailing, highlighting the steps it is taking to ensure the environments in which its products are sourced and manufactured are safe, fair and sustainable.

Cotton On Group’s Ethical Sourcing Manager David Nesbitt said, “The environments in which our products are made and the materials used to make them form a critical part of our ethical responsibility – it’s just the right way to do business.”

“Over the last five years, we have worked closely with BWA to build on the strength of our existing Ethical Sourcing Program, allowing us to sense check and continually enhance our programs with a focus on end-to-end mapping of our suppliers.”

The Group’s Ethical Sourcing Program, including its 14 Rules to Trade, has been in existence since 2009 and governs the sourcing, manufacturing and supply of products. Adherence to this code of conduct relies on the strength of the relationships the Group holds with its suppliers – some of which have been partners of the business for over 20 years.

Since 2013, when the first Australian Fashion Report was published, the Group has worked hard to improve its score year-on-year, with this year’s rating largely attributable to its continued focus on traceability and public disclosure of its supplier base, together with its commitment to ethical and sustainable cotton sourcing.

In 2016, the Group became a proud member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), while continuing to support hundreds of farmers living in Kwale through its Kenya Cotton program. Through these two initiatives, the Group is working towards having 100% more sustainable cotton through its supply chain by 2021.

While the Cotton On Group is proud of what it has achieved to date, it believes there is always much more to be done in this space, including a greater focus on worker empowerment and chemical detox.

As David concludes,

“we know we’re on a continuous road to improvement and are committed to an ever-better supply chain for the long haul.”