DO YOU HAVE A CODE OF CONDUCT?
Yes, our code was first issued in 1996, revised in 2000, 2007, 2015 and is currently under review. It is based on the ETI base code which has been developed in line with ILO Conventions. You can find out more and download it here.
HOW DO YOUR FACTORIES KNOW ABOUT YOUR CODE OF CONDUCT?
Our Code of Conduct is communicated to all our suppliers when they begin trading with the Arcadia Group.
We monitor compliance with our Code of Conduct through our ethical audit programme which is managed through our online database, ‘Valid8’. All suppliers must submit an independent third-partyethical audit for every factory that they intend to use for Arcadia orders. These audits must be less than 12 months old, semi or un-announced and have been conducted by one of our approved audit bodies.
When setting up a new factory on Valid 8 the system will prompt suppliers to communicate our Code of Conduct to each of their factories and confirm they understand and meet our minimum requirements. Our Code is also an integral part of the Supplier Handbook and is available on the supplier extranet. Our aim is for a programme of continuous improvement. Every purchase order includes the Code of Conduct as part of our Conditions of Trading.
WHO MONITORS YOUR CODE OF CONDUCT?
Factories used by our suppliers must submit a valid independent audit, before an order can be placed. These audits are carried out by some of the world’s largest international auditing companies in the local language, against the Arcadia Code of Conduct. We review all audits internally and ensure that the factory has met our minimum standards. If issues are identified during the audit, a corrective action plan is agreed with the factory.
In addition to this, our trained employees perform unannounced factory visits on an ad hoc basis. Among other things, theylook for violations of our Code of Conduct or issues raised during an audit which have yet to be resolved. Any concerns will be discussed immediately with factory management and we will work together with them to remedy the problem wherever possible, with an emphasis on implementing a sustainable solution.
You can read more about our Ethical Audit Programme here.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU PROVIDE TO SUPPLIERS AND FACTORIES TO HELP THEM MEET THE CODE OF CONDUCT REQUIREMENTS?
The Arcadia Group Code of Conduct Guidebook gives detailed explanations of our expectations and how to meet them. This includes; a description of what is meant by each section of the code, relevant international laws or ILO conventions, common examples of non-compliance, documentation and management flowcharts to overcome these issues as well as examples of how to work towards best practice. You can read more and download the Guidebook here.
The ethical trade team are also on hand to support suppliers and factories to identify the root cause of any issue and develop a remediation plan . We believe we have a responsibility towards workers in our supply chain to help factories resolve critical issues, rather than walk away and leave problems unaddressed and workers potentially at risk.
DO YOU WORK WITH FACTORIES THAT USE CHILD LABOUR?
We make it clear at the beginning of our relationship with a supplier that we will not work with any factory that employs children, this would be a serious violation of our code of conduct.
Our code is aligned with the United Nations’ definition of a child as any person less than 15 years of age unless local minimum law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, in which case the higher shall apply. If, however, local minimum age law is set at 14 years of age, in accordance with developing country exceptions under ILO Convention No 138, the lower will apply.
DO YOU SUPPORT FACTORY WORKERS’ RIGHT TO JOIN A UNION?
Yes, our code is very clear in this area:
We believe that every worker has the right, without distinction, to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively within the law of the land of the country concerned.
We expect the employer to adopt an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities.
We expect that workers’ representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.
Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, we would expect that the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.
DO YOU SUPPORT THE CONCEPT OF A LIVING WAGE AS OPPOSED TO A MINIMUM WAGE?
Arcadia supports the position that all workers in our supply chain, including piece rate, subcontracted, informal, home and migrant workers, should always receive enough wages to meet their needs for nutritious food, clean water and other needs (shelter, transport etc.) as well as a discretionary income, which is now a generally well accepted definition of a living wage.
One of the challenges of ensuring a living wage is how to define and then implement it. We currently rely on a solid benchmark specified by an ILO Convention and that is the minimum wage set by law in the appropriate country or local industry benchmark standards.
This is a complex topic, as many other companies and organisations are finding. Arcadia has joined the ACT initiative, a collaboration between international brands, and the Global Union Federation IndustriALL to promote improved purchasing practises across the industry and work together to drive towards ensuring workers receive a living wage.
You can read about our living wage projects here.
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE ON YOUR ‘BANNED’ LIST?
Currently our banned list includes Myanmar, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. The list of acceptable countries is managed centrally and reviewed regularly by the Ethical Trading department.
DO YOU MAKE CLOTHES IN BANGLADESH?
Bangladesh continues to be a key sourcing country for Arcadia Group. As with all the factories in our supply chain, we believe that the people in those factories should work in safe conditions, be treated decently and have the tools to communicate with their management.
With this in mind we have signed the Transition Accord to achieve this in Bangladesh and closely monitor the situation in our Bangladeshi factories on a continuous basis. We recognise there is always more to be done and regularly review our programmes and progress whilst looking for new opportunities to address the numerous and varied challenges in our supply chain.
DO YOU USE FUR?
No. We are committed to not selling any items made of real fur.
DO YOU HAVE AN ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY?
Yes. All our suppliers are required to sign up to our animal welfare declaration as part of our conditions of trading. Our internet-based test report system automatically reminds suppliers of our animal welfare policy when they are asked to supply goods made from animal sources.
Download our animal welfare policy here
DOES YOUR NIGHTWEAR MEET ALL CURRENT FLAMMABILITY LEGISLATION?
Yes, the flammability of the clothing we sell complies with all current UK and European legislation, including:
- Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985
- Toy Safety Regulations
- General Product Safety Regulations.
WHY ARE YOU NOT MEMBERS OF THE ETI?
Our own ethical trading programme – and its resultant code of conduct – has been in existence since 1996 and replicates the ETI Base Code as well as being underpinned by the ILO core conventions. We have an open dialogue with many interested stakeholders, including other retailers and pressure groups, collaborate with other retailers and believe we can move our programme forward successfully without being members of this organisation
WHAT 3RD PARTY ORGANISATIONS ARE YOU PART OF?
Arcadia Group is a signatory of SCAP (Sustainable Clothing Action Plan) organised by WRAP. Through the scheme we are committed to reducing our carbon and water footprint by 15% and reducing waste to landfill by 15% (against a 2020 target)
Through our membership of ACT we are collaboratively working with other leading brands, retailers, manufacturers and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment supply chain. ACT aims to establish industry collective bargaining agreement in key garment and textile sourcing countries. For more information on the program click here.
We are also a founding member of the Industry Acting on Microfibres. This is a group consisting of apparel companies, oil companies, washing detergent manufacturers and water companies. The collaboration aims to drive forward innovative solutions to tackle the issue of microfiber pollution, galvanise the industry into action and also support the wider plastics agenda.
DO YOU PUBLISH A SUSTAINABILITY REPORT?
We publish detailed information regarding our sustainability programme within our fashion footprint webpages. These are reviewed on a regular basis, but to keep right up-to-date with our work
, see our latest news.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO REDUCE YOUR IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT?
As well as joining SCAP,the Industry Acting on Microfibre program, the Alliance for Responsible Denim and the WWF Leather Working Group (which all aim to reduce the environmental impacts of the fashion industry), we have an ongoing programme across our business for continuous improvement
You can read more about our work to reduce our environmental impact here.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF PLASTIC PACKAGING
We are committed to ensuring that our products not only reach our customers in perfect condition, but also in an environmentally friendly way. We have focused on reducing the consumption of virgin raw materials used in our packaging and 100% of our online orders are now shipped in bags containing up to 75% recycled plastic. We also ensure that these bags can be recycled after use. Our plastic store bags now also contain 25% recycled content. We intend to move to a plastic store bag which contains at least 30% recycled material this year. For more information click here.
DO YOU COMPLY WITH THE ROHS (RESTRICTION OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES) AND WEEE (WASTE ELECTRICAL ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT) DIRECTIVES?
We have procedures in place to ensure that all our suppliers are educated and comply with all aspects of this environmental legislation. We have registered with Valpak to ensure we comply with both our 'Distributor' and 'Producer' obligations set out in the WEEE Directive.
HOW DOES ARCADIA COMPLY WITH REACH LEGISLATION?
REACH is the European Union legislation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation (and Restriction) of Chemical substances, which came into force in 2007. It's central aim to protect human health and the environment from the risks arising from the use of chemicals.
Arcadia works closely with its suppliers and factories to fulfil its obligations under REACH and has established processes and procedures to ensure that its products comply or exceed all requirements.
WHAT'S YOUR APPROACH TO WASHING INSTRUCTIONS AND ADVISING CUSTOMERS TO WASH AT 30 DEGREES?
We always advise our customers to check the care label on our garments in case of garment specific was requirements. In general however, Arcadia Group actively encourages our customers to wash at lower temperatures. We support the Love your Clothes campaign, which encourages consumers to wash at 30⁰, saving up to 40% of the energy used to heat water, and saving you money on your bills.
Please see here for more guidance on washing and caring for your clothes.
Community and Charity
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO IMPROVE THE ACCESSIBILITY OF YOUR STORES AND WEBSITES?
The majority of our stores allow access to all floors for customers with disabilities. It is our ongoing aim to improve the accessibility of our stores for all customers, including those with disabilities. Where access to some areas of a store is not possible we offer alternatives including a 'personal shopper' service where a selection of items of clothing can be brought by our staff to the customer. In addition, many of our brands can offer accessible shopping at alternative nearby stores.
All our brand websites have achieved Web Accessibility Initiative AA rating making them more accessible to people with disabilities.
We have introduced a mystery shopper programme, including customers with a disability, to provide useful insight and feedback to us about store accessibility. This helps us to decide which actions we should take and informs our store development for new or modernised stores.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOU PLAY A VALUABLE ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY?
Supporting charity is an inherent part of our ethos. At a group and brand level, we work closely with selected chosen charities and are very active in fundraising on a corporate and individual basis.
At a group level, we select charities to support over the course of a three year period. This helps to maximise the value we can bring, by building a long-term and meaningful relationship with our chosen partner organisations.
Many of our brands work with their charity partners to create exclusive products that are sold in our stores to raise funds. Often fundraising is driven by our retail employees and takes place at a local community level with events in-store or personal efforts from marathons, bike rides and social celebrations. You can read more about our charity work here.
DO YOU RUN AN APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME FOR FUTURE TALENT?
In 2017 we launched our first head office higher level apprenticeship programme, which is open to school and college leavers. Developed in partnership with the Fashion Retail Academy (FRA), this two-year merchandising skills programme saw 13 apprentices join our business. With each of our brands welcoming at least one apprentice, this new generation of talent has taken part in a mix of on-the-job development and regular off-site training at the FRA.
Read more about the apprenticeship scheme here.