At Glassons sourcing ethically is our responsibility, we take this very seriously and we continue to improve transparency in all areas of our operations. While the fashion industry supply chain is complex, for Glassons to be truly sustainable we need to take responsibility for our products and how they are made.
For Glassons, ethical responsibility means all the people our brand touches are treated with dignity and respect, have decent working hours, earn fair wages and enjoy safe working conditions.
Partnerships and Initiatives are central in our commitment to ethical manufacturing. We have introduced a range of initiatives, including:
- Introduced certified fabrics into our product ranges that also focus on social responsibility Click here to learn more
- Partnered with Chinese NGO - INNO, supporting workers voices in our factories. Click here to learn more
- The Ethical Fashion Report graded us an 'A' in their 2021 report for our support of worker welfare and labour rights.
Factory Worker Training - In 2021 Glassons funded worker reps and HR personal from our supplier factories to participate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) training modules delivered by SgT Group. The training focused on the following:
- Introduction to CSR
- Worker involvement and communications
- Grievance mechanism
- Modern slavery
- Risk assessment
- Health and safety Compliance
- Corrective Action Plan
- Launched a pilot project to further improve our knowledge of living wage benchmarks and pay structures to understand any barriers to achieving higher wages. We will be reporting our findings in our 2022 sustainability report.
Our Supply Partners
We value our relationships with our Supply partners, having worked with many for up to 15 - 20 years. The strong partnerships that we have formed have allowed us to work collaboratively to help deliver our Sustainability Commitments and Ethical Responsibility. We demand high standards and transparency from our suppliers. All manufacturers are required to adhere to our Code of Conduct for Ethical and Social Compliance based on human rights laws. Transparency is a cornerstone to our Ethical Responsibility. Knowing who is making our clothes is important to us and our customers
Our supply factories are located in:
Transparency is a priority and essential to our Ethical Responsibility. Unauthorised subcontracting is a very real issue in global supply chains. We have worked very hard with our supply partners over the years to build trust and transparency, putting worker welfare front and centre.
Our suppliers are clear of their responsibility around disclosure. As part of our manufacturing authority, suppliers must disclose all information on where our product is being made. We continue to work with suppliers and continue to monitor for unauthorised sub-contracting.
Upholding human rights is fundamental to our values and business. Glassons recognise the International Labour Organisations (ILO's) international labour standards aimed at ensuring sustainable work worldwide in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. Protection of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Code of Conduct: 1.5. SAFE & HEALTHY WORKING ENVIRONMENTS SHALL BE PROVIDED
Factories shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding working conditions and shall provide workers with a safe and healthy environment.
See below how we are working with our suppliers to support a safe working environment:
- The factory complies with all applicable laws regarding working conditions, including worker health and safety, sanitation, fire safety, risk protection, and electrical, mechanical and structural safety.
- Work surface lighting in production areas-such as sewing, knitting, pressing and cutting-is sufficient for the safe performance of production activities.
- The factory is well ventilated. There are windows, fans, air conditioners or heaters in all work areas for adequate circulation, ventilation and temperature control.
- The factory places at least one well-stocked first aid kit on every factory floor and trains specific staff in basic first aid. The factory has procedures for dealing with serious injuries that require medical treatment outside the factory.
Code of Conduct: 1.4 NON-DISCRIMINATION
There shall not be any discrimination in employment, including hiring, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of; gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, or social or ethnic origin.
No supplier shall engage in or support discrimination in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, national or territorial origin, social origin, caste, birth, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, marital status, union membership, political opinions, age or any other condition that could give rise to discrimination.
See below how we are working with our suppliers to better promote gender equality:
- We have open dialogue with factory management to create a Female Worker Representative position within the factory.
- Ask factories to display information on notice boards regarding organisations supporting women's rights and entitlements under current law.
- Encourage factories to engage with local organisations that provide education, healthcare or general support to female workers in the workplace.
Code of Conduct: 1.8. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND THE RIGHT TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Respecting worker rights is fundamental to our ongoing business relationships. Having independent unionised factories gives assurance that worker labour rights are being respected.
However, in China, our main sourcing country, independent unions are illegal. Therefore we prioritise factories that have democratically elected worker representatives. This is checked by the auditor who interviews the worker representative and sights election details and meeting notes.
Code of Conduct: 1.4 NON-DISCRIMINATION
The factory is required to have a functioning grievance mechanism which includes investigation and efforts to address grievance. All workers should be trained on their rights and entitlements and how to use a grievance mechanism.
See below how we are working with our suppliers to support worker rights:
- Grievance mechanisms play a crucial role in giving workers a voice. All Glassons supplier factories have a robust grievance mechanism process within the factory. During audits the grievance mechanism is checked for its effectiveness and worker participation in the process.
- Glassons also recognise the need for an independent option that workers can access. This is why Glassons have partnered with the China worker rights organisation - INNO, who offer a workers support service using a QR code that puts the worker in direct communication with INNO employees
Glassons - QR posters
We have our own grievance posters translated into the national language of each country and posted in Glassons factories. Workers can contact us directly.
Code of Conduct: 1.3. PREVENTION OF FORCED LABOUR AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Upholding human rights is fundamental to ethical partnerships. We prioritise factories that have democratically elected worker representatives or union reps, a functioning grievance mechanism and are trained in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
We have undertaken a labour risk assessment and work closely with our auditing partners to educate, identify, mitigate and remediate the risks of modern slavery.
Hallenstein Glassons have published a Modern Slavery statement, prepared in accordance with the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018. This statement outlines how we combat risks of modern slavery and reduce the risk of it happening within our operations.
Wage & Benefits
Glassons is committed to paying a fair wage to workers who make our clothes. We have in place independent auditing of factories to verify workers are being paid the legally required minimum wage and receiving all mandated benefits.
However, we recognize that a minimum wage does not meet what would be defined as a living wage, so we have taken some very positive steps to actively promote higher wages.
We have designed a roadmap to support our commitment to higher wages.
Glassons does not own any factories which complicates our ability to put higher wages into workers pay packets. Therefore we have designed a roadmap to support our commitment to higher wages using data collected in our audits to track progress.
1. POLICIES AND CODE OF CONDUCT
We have Included requirements that support achieving higher wages in supplier Trading Terms and our Code of Conduct.
- Support free and fair collective bargaining to establish higher wage levels. A vital element of an enabling environment for living wages is to support freedom of association and collective bargaining.
- Suppliers must establish grievance mechanisms for workers and their representatives to help facilitate open discussions over any lack of progress on wage improvements.
- All workers shall be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions in respect to wages before they enter employment.
- All workers are provided with clear wage slips in a language they understand.
- Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted.
- Women and men are paid equally for the same work.
2. Fair Wage
Glassons are committed to a Fair Wage for ALL workers who make our clothes. By supporting decent, regular, fair paid employment, we can actively promote effective trading relationships that influence wage levels.
Glassons definition of a Fair Wage is:
- All workers earn ABOVE minimum wage.
- Workers are free to enter into collective bargaining agreements.
- Workers are receiving all mandated labour entitlements, such as but not limited to, penalty rates, allowances and holidays.
- Regular employment is provided.
3. Living Wage
As a company we pay 'Fair Wage' and support 'Living Wage' by working with our suppliers to meet Living Wage benchmarks.
A Living Wage should be earned in a standard work week (no more than 48 hours as a maximum) by a worker and be sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and their family.
Elements of a decent standard of living include food, housing, and other essential needs such as clothing, education, healthcare, transport and including provision for unexpected events.
A Living Wage should allow individuals to work and help themselves and their families escape poverty. (source: Anker Methodology)
Our Actions to date in support of Living Wage:
- Researched the gap between prevailing and living wages to establish benchmarks.
- Documented the proportion of workers who have secure contracts, earn a living wage and have the opportunity to join independent unions.
- Report progress on living wages in participation of The Ethical fashion Report.
This is an on-going focus for us and our suppliers.
We are currently working on a project with selected suppliers to further understand how suppliers set and pay wages across a range of interrelated aspects, eg: how pay relates to working hours and how it is used to reward or incentivise performance.
Once we have collated this information we will work collaboratively with suppliers and relevant stakeholders to understand any barriers to achieving higher wages, listen to their concerns and help build a consensus for action.
Social compliance is important to Glassons and a continuing process in which we endeavour to protect the health, safety, and rights of workers in our supply chain and the environment in which they operate.
Glassons Code of Conduct is our socially responsible code ensuring workers are being treated ethically and their rights respected. Auditing is the process of verifying factories are in compliance to our Code of Conduct.
Our Code of Conduct is modelled on International Labour Organisation's (ILO) guidelines for sustainable work standards upholding international human rights.
A supplier to Glassons must agree and sign our Code of Conduct and demonstrate they understand the policies and actions required to maintain Glassons manufacturing authority.
Suppliers must ensure this is communicated to all owned and contracting factories, sub-contractors, input suppliers; to respect and comply with our Code of Conduct. Suppliers must disclose all sub-contractors used, and we give approval to the factories based on strict criteria.
Our Code of Conduct supports the following ethical trading principles:
This CODE applies to all our suppliers, their employees and subcontractors. We expect suppliers to ensure this is communicated to all stakeholders; to respect and comply with our Code of Conduct.
- 1.1. LEGAL REQUIREMENTS Factories that produce goods for Glassons shall operate in full compliance with the laws of their respective countries and with all other applicable laws, rules and regulations.
1.2. NO CHILD LABOUR SHALL BE USED
No supplier shall engage in or support the use of child labour under 16 years of age, unless the minimum age for work or mandatory schooling is higher by local law, in which case the stipulated higher age applies in that locality.
Employers must verify the age of their employees and maintain copies of their workers proof of age.
Young workers between the ages of 16-18 shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions. If children are found to be working directly or indirectly for the supplier, Glassons ethical compliance manager must be notified immediately. The facility must participate in Glassons Child Remediation Process which provides for the child to remain in quality education until no longer a child.
1.3. PREVENTION OF FORCED LABOUR AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
As a supplier to Glassons you must comply with Australia's Modern Slavery Act - Australian Modern Slavery Act
Supplier shall ensure that all work is voluntary.
Supplier shall not traffic persons or use any form of slave, forced, bonded, indentured or prison labour.
Supplier shall not retain original identification papers and shall not require personnel to pay 'deposits' to the organisation upon commencing employment.
Any Overtime Hours above contractual requirements is absolutely voluntary.
1.4. NO DISCRIMINATION IS PRACTICED
There shall not be any discrimination in employment, including hiring, compensation, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement.
There shall not be any discrimination on the basis of; gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, union membership, political opinion or ethnic origin.
Supplier shall not require pregnancy or medical tests, except where required by applicable laws or regulations for workplace safety. Suppliers shall not improperly discriminate based on test results.
The factory is required to have a functioning grievance mechanism which includes investigation and efforts to address grievance. All workers should be trained on their rights and entitlements and how to use a grievance mechanism.
1.5. SAFE & HEALTHY WORKING ENVIRONMENTS SHALL BE PROVIDED
Worker health and safety is important to Glassons. Workers shall have the right to refuse unsafe work and to report unhealthy working conditions.
Supplier shall obtain, keep current and comply with all required health and safety permits.
Supplier shall meet compliance with up-to-date fire safety laws, fire-fighting equipment and the implementation of evacuation procedures and emergency plans.
Employers shall ensure that workers have access to clean drinking water, sanitary washing facilities and an adequate number of toilets.
All suppliers shall minimize or eliminate, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of injury and accidents in the workplace, based upon the prevailing health and safety knowledge of the industry sector and of any specific hazards.
Hazards shall include, but not be limited to; fire safety, building safety, machine safety, chemical safety, and health safety.
These standards must also be met in any canteen, dormitory, rest and recreational area provided for workers.
1.6. WAGES & BENEFITS
All suppliers shall ensure that wages for a normal work week, not including overtime, shall always meet at least the minimum legal wage or collective bargaining agreement (where applicable)
Supplier shall provide all legally mandated benefits and communicate pay structure and pay period to all workers.
As a company we support Living Wage and encourage our suppliers to meet Living Wage benchmarks.
All overtime shall be reimbursed at a premium rate as defined by national law or established by a collective bargaining agreement (where applicable).
1.7 NO HARSH OR INHUMANE TREATMENT IS ALLOWED
All suppliers shall treat their personnel with dignity and respect. Supplier shall commit to a workplace free of harassment and abuse.
No supplier shall engage in or tolerate the use of corporal punishment, mental or physical coercion.
No supplier shall engage in or tolerate verbal abuse or any other form of intimidation.
Any form of sexual abuse or harassment shall not be tolerated.
1.8. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND THE RIGHT TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
All suppliers shall recognize the right of employees to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
All suppliers shall ensure that their personnel have the right to form, join or organise a trade union.
The supplier shall not interfere in any way with the establishment, functioning or administration of workers' organisation(s) or collective bargaining.
All employers shall recognize the role of democratically elected worker representatives and must give them access to carry out their functions in the workplace.
1.9. SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
All suppliers shall comply with local environmental law and obtain, keep current and comply with all required environmental permits.
All suppliers shall comply with the reporting requirements of applicable permits and regulations.
All factories shall comply with Glassons Restricted Substance List (RSL) and Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL)
All factories must have an Environmental Action Plan documenting implemented controls to minimize the impacts on the environment for:
- Solid Waste Disposal.
- Hazardous chemicals storage / use / management / disposal.
- Air and water emissions.
- Adequate training for workers in the safe handling of chemicals.
1.10 RAW MATERIALS
All raw materials used by suppliers must be ethically sourced and the standards outlined in this code of conduct must flow into all parts of their supply chain.
Suppliers must not under any circumstances knowingly use cotton that is sourced from Uzbekistan or from any origin where child labour is known.
Please read in conjunction with Glassons Animal Welfare Policy.
1.12. RIGHT OF INSPECTION
Our company expects all suppliers and their contractors to respect and comply with our Code of Conduct.
All suppliers must provide Glassons with current, accurate information regarding the name and location of all production facilities that are being used to make our product.
Our company reserves the right to make unannounced visits to all associated manufacturers and suppliers by Glassons staff or by nominated third-party inspection companies on our behalf, to ensure all suppliers and production facilities comply with our Code of Conduct document.
- 1.13. NON-COMPLIANCE Non-compliance with any of these requirements may result in the immediate cancellation and termination of all outstanding orders and further business relations.
We use a variety of accredited certifications, which provides the authenticity we believe is important. In doing so, we ensure fibres are verified so we can confidently deliver responsibly sourced textiles.
By using these certifications, we can achieve greater visibility of Tier 2 supply chain providing more confidence with how our fibres are sourced and how our fabrics are made. The below certifications also audit all certified facilities on Socially responsible manufacturing.
Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is a voluntary product standard for tracing and verifying the content of recycled materials in final product. This standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, chemical content and labelling.
EUROPEAN FLAX ®
EUROPEAN FLAX ® certifies the exclusive origin of flax fibre from Western Europe: France, Belgium and the Netherlands. EUROPEAN FLAX ® fibre culture has low impacts on the environment: no irrigation, no GMO (genetic modifications), no waste. Our entire supply chain requires membership to EUROPEAN FLAX ® and must meet environmental and socially responsible manufacturing requirements.
The purpose of auditing is to ensure that our responsible sourcing Code of Conduct is being followed by our supplier factories. The auditing process is fundamental to our business supply partnerships to achieve our commitment to transparency, workers rights, protection of the vulnerable, fair wages and safe workplaces.
Our Tier 1 suppliers are audited by our external partner; Qualspec SgT. Qualspec conduct all audits according to the highest professional standards, using ISO 19011 principles to determine compliance to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESC) framework - SA8000.
AUDITS THIS YEAR
The data collated from the audits for the year 2nd Aug 2020 - 1st Aug 2021
Covid continues to disrupt our auditing capabilities due to- hot spot lockdowns and restrictions on travel impacting auditors. Postponed audits are rescheduled accordingly.
32 GLASSONS AUDITS COMPLETED
120 / Total number of compliances checked against in each audit. 9 / Average non-compliances per audit
5 examples of Non Compliances are:
Factory not paying all mandatory social benefits (China specific)
This is a complicated issue that we continue to work with factories to resolve. There are 5 types of social insurance: accident, unemployment, medical, maternity and retirement. Many workers opt out of some or all the insurances, and the factory pays an amount equivalent to the levy, directly to the worker instead of into the government scheme. Our NGO partner in China, INNO, is working with some factories to better understand social insurance obligations of employers and entitlements of workers.
Aisles partially obstructed. This is a breach of fire safety, and we work closely with factories to ensure improved fire safety culture within factories.
This can include asking factories to engage with local fire safety professionals for an update on appropriate fire safety procedures in factories.
Overtime exceeds 36 hours month.
In China the working week is 40 hours and allowed overtime is 36 hours per month. Many workers do between 37 - 60 overtime hours a month. Again, this is a complicated issue because workers rely on overtime hours to earn a liveable wage and want those extra hours. HGH is now running a Higher Wage project with selected factories to better understand wage structures and how the gap between contracted wages and Living Wage can be closed. In addition, there are several things that a Brand can do to minimise pressure on factory working hours and we address this in our Responsible Purchasing Practices.
Insufficient PPE (personal protection equipment) - workers are not using or wearing adequate PPE. (e.g. metal glove, eye goggles, dust masks)
Workers are not using or wearing adequate PPE. (e.g., metal gloves, eye goggles, dust masks).
Insufficient worker safety processes (e.g. lacking training in machine maintenance, machines missing safety guards, poor record keeping, no H&S testing for noise and dust)
e.g., lacking training in machine maintenance, machines missing safety guards, poor record keeping, no H&S testing for noise and dust).
Glassons approach to auditing goes beyond compliance. We take a collaborative approach with our suppliers, which results in better outcomes around transparency and trust.
Our Ethical Partners
We value our partnerships with key organisations to help support this journey, this journey needs collaboration on a wide scale to help support the industry and the people with in it. We have aligned with the key partners below and look forward to collaborating more as our journey continues.
Our auditing partner.
Qualspec is globally accredited meeting ISO 9001 standards to conduct Factory Assessment Audits and Ethical Social Compliance Audits.
Their technicians assess Glassons manufacturers compliance with our Code of Conduct, local labour laws and internal social standards. Based on findings during the audit, Qualspec will provide a corrective and preventive action plan for the manufacturer to improve where needed.
In 2019 Qualspec's teams joined forces with SgT, Worms Safety's global textile specialist, to complement their services and bring more added value.
We have partnered with Chinese NGO INNO by implementing the 'Handshake Workers Programme' which supports workers voices and grievances. We believe this is a perfect fit, as INNO is Chinese based, providing support right where the majority of our suppliers are located. INNO is a whistle blower hotline that workers can access via QR code posted in the factory, enabling direct communication to INNO employees.
Baptist World Aid Australia is a Christian NGO supporting individuals and communities around the world. After the tragedy of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, Baptist took action to shed light on what fashion brands and companies are doing to address forced labour, child labour and exploitation of workers in their supply chains.
The Ethical Fashion Report was first launched in 2013 - and has tracked progress within the industry having released 7 reports to date. The report scores Brands A+ to F based on how well they support workers. Tearfund is the New Zealand based Christian NGO managing NZ based fashion brands participation of The Ethical Fashion Report.
GLASSONS ETHICAL FASHION REPORT RESULTS
In the latest published 2021 Ethical Fashion Report; Glassons scored an A.
The journey we've been on over the last 6 years has given us a broad and deep understanding of ethical principles, cultural diversity, and issues facing workers. It's helped us to achieve greater transparency in complex supply chains and meet the challenges we all face, from a global pandemic to climate change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe effect on global health and economies. The entire industry has been disrupted bringing unprecedented challenges to our business and the people within it. Through the pandemic our immediate focus was to protect our staff, suppliers and the workers with in our supply chain. Working very closely with our supply partners, adapting and navigating through the challenges.
The pandemic has provided an opportunity for the industry to pause and re-think the future. To enable us to build back better; we are focusing on how we work, sustainability, technology, and communication.
Hallenstein Glassons are committed to standing alongside our suppliers in these unprecedented times. In support of the Tearfund Covid Fashion Commitment, we fully endorse the call to action in supporting garment workers in our supply chain. In recognising our responsibility throughout the impact of COVID-19, we have worked closely with our suppliers and ensured flexibility on payment terms to support the respective businesses. We have paid in full for all goods that left factories prior to lockdown and remain committed to taking delivery of all finished orders. Whilst for a brief period in lockdown we did pause buying, we are now back trading and receipting orders from previously made garments and proactively working with suppliers on fabrics that we have committed too. We recognise the importance of collaboration with our partners to ensure we have a clear understanding of the challenges facing their business and workers. We value the continued support from SgT Qualspec and the work they do in supporting worker welfare and assessing compliance to our Code of Conduct. To further enable our commitment to support workers, we have engaged China NGO - Inno, offering independent support and guidance to workers on a case by cases basis. We value our relationships, with many of our suppliers having worked with us for over 10 years. The strong partnerships that we have formed has allowed us to work collaboratively to help mitigate the economic impact on supplier's businesses and workers as the world responds to COVID-19.
In 2020 the ethical fashion report was replaced with the Tearfund COVID-19 6 Fashion Commitments.
Glassons made a public commitment to support our factory workers and signed up to the Tearfund 6 Fashion Commitments, which are:
- Support workers' wages, honouring supplier commitments.
- Identify workers at greatest risk
- Listen to the voices and experience of workers.
- Ensure workers' rights and safety are respected.
- Collaborate with others to protect venerable workers.
- Build back better for workers and the world.
Tearfund/Baptist world released the results in October 2020, and we are pleased to update that Glassons took action to ALL 6 COVID-19 Fashion commitments as listed above, achieving the best result possible.