It is of utmost importance to us that our textiles are produced at factories with decent working conditions. As we do not own any of the facilities, we spend many resources on following up with the suppliers on their work on adhering to our Code of Conduct.
We are aware that some production countries represent systemic risks of unsafe working conditions and challenged labour rights. At the same time, the textile industry creates millions of jobs, and we do not see it as an option to simply cut out countries from the sourcing loop. Instead, we focus on contributing to improvement, through our own supply chain work, but also through national and international initiatives. You can read more about our engagement in initiatives here.
We have been a member of the amfori since 2013, and the amfori BSCI platform is actively used as the main social certification system. Suppliers are expected to work with the amfori BSCI (or other social certification system as SEDEX, or SA8000), and in cases where a factory has not yet initiated the BSCI process, we expect them to join. Suppliers are audited annually by third party auditors, and we use the audit reports to promote dialogue on necessary improvements. In the amfori BSCI system, a supplier can get the result A-E. Acceptable level is A, B or C.
We have set up a systematic follow-up system on audit reports. This means that when we receive a new report from a supplier, we go through it, and then create a so-called CAP-form, which mentions issues from the report. This CAP-form is sent to the supplier, and we expect them to fill out CAPs (corrective action plans) for each issue, including a timeframe for each improvement project. In this way, we track the improvements from supplier side (or the lack of such).
To the right, you can see 2020 figures on our top 50 suppliers’ BSCI performance.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
We have been a member of the Accord since 2013 and we are a signatory member of the Transition Accord, which came into force on 1 June 2018. PWT Group is committed to require all active Bangladeshi suppliers to work with the Accord Inspection Programme. Accord engineers continuously conduct inspections covering fire, building and electrical safety at participating factories. The inspection reports are shared with all active brands, which are obliged to support suppliers on creating improvements based on inspection findings.
Throughout the years, several important programs have been added to the Accord scope, such as an extensive training program for the factories’ safety committee, and a project on boiler safety. The Accord also includes a thorough grievance mechanism, monitored by Accord staff, through which workers at Accord factories can submit any complaint or concern, and these will be handled anonymously.
The current situation is that the Transition Accord expires on May 31 2021. During the last years, the Accord programme, including its staff, has slowly been transferred to the national RSC, the Ready-Made-Garments (RMG) Sustainability Council. It is important to PWT Group to ensure that the important and highly valuable work of the Accord so far will not be lost. The Group is still awaiting the final decision on how any future Accord/RSC participation will look like from the brands side after May 31 2021.