Working ethically and sustainably is absolutely fundamental to our business, and we are committed to supporting the thousands of people in our supply chain who make the garments our customers love.
The clothing industry has the potential to make a massive positive impact on social development. More than 30 million people make textiles and garments across the world; and in our top sourcing countries, such as Bangladesh, the fashion industry makes up a huge percentage of their GDP. The reach and footprint of the clothing industry gives us a fantastic opportunity – and I’m passionate about building an ethical value chain that our people and customers can be proud of.
However the industry is not without its challenges, and we cannot afford to ignore these. The time to act is now. New Look’s projects over the years have led to some excellent and inspiring insights that we can use to scale up solutions across our supply chain. The industry is becoming more and more open to collaboration, and is seeking to develop common solutions. We have the opportunity to make the global garment industry a driver for inclusive, sustainable economic development – bringing benefits to everybody, whatever their background.
Our strategy at New Look is to put workers at the centre of our agenda. We first listen to their needs and understand their challenges; and then work with suppliers, supporting them to become better businesses that offer more secure, sustainable jobs. It works the other way too - we can also learn a lot from our suppliers, such as understanding more about the specific local challenges they face and how they are tackled. Our relationship with suppliers is always an equal partnership – we work together closely, using their feedback to shape and influence our strategies.
Collaboration with other industry organisations is also critical for delivering success at scale. As well as our suppliers, we partner with brands, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government initiatives, and local expert organisations which support and enhance our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy.
We know it will take time to achieve the results we’re looking for, and we’re committed to sustaining our efforts at all levels of the company. Our challenging targets help us continually strive for improvement. In all our efforts, we aim to work with an honest and authentic attitude. Our CSR team works closely with the people in our supply chain – buyers, suppliers and factories – to monitor progress, and to encourage learning from each other. By taking this approach, we can achieve great things. In 2015/16:
- We’ve reached 100% of our factories with our third party audit programme and are actively engaging with our suppliers to improve working conditions in our supply base.
- We’ve reached over 160 factories with our training in worker awareness and labour rights.
- We’ve further expanded specialist projects on gender equality to 11 factories, including empowering homeworkers and millworkers in India, engaging in training for female supervisors in Bangladesh, and promoting health awareness in China and Vietnam.
- We’ve become learning members of the Better Cotton Initiative to improve global cotton production.
- We’ve delivered health and safety projects to nearly 200 factories around the world.
- We’ve become members of ACT, an initiative between international brands and retailers, manufacturers and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment supply chain.
Thanks for your interest in our CSR work. Please read our 2015/2016 report here.
Anders Kristiansen CEO