The statement made on Facebook reads: “Here at Glassons we have had close relationships with our suppliers for many years and feel confident of their standards. As part of our ongoing improvement programme we have undertaken independent third party audits to give us assurance there were no human rights violations, and the high standards from our supplier’s responsible sourcing code of conduct were being lived up to.
Qualspec, a leading fashion quality assurance company, has completed the majority of our manufacturing base, and we are pleased to now be in a position to share these positive results with you.
We can say with confidence there is no child labour or forced labour, the treatment and working conditions of workers are consistent and at a high standard, and all workers are paid above the recommended fair living wage.
We will continue to run these audits on an ongoing basis, so when customers are shopping at Glassons, they can shop with absolute confidence that their clothes have been ethically produced.”
The retailer also said it is building a new section on its website with more dedicated supply chain information for its customers, which it’s working to make available in the next few weeks.
Glassons came under fire earlier this year when it was named in a Baptist World Aid 2015 ethical clothing report.
It was listed as one of the retailers that failed the test, receiving an F in workers’ rights, monitoring and training and traceability and transparency.
The public reacted strongly to the findings. The Register’s story on the report was viewed over 20,000 times and many customers declared they were boycotting the brand.
When someone asked why this Glassons failed the test on Facebook, Glassons responded: “At no point have issues been identified in our supply chain in regard to breaches in human rights or child labour. As we didn't take part in Baptist World Aid survey and our publicly available information was not sufficient, we received the low score. We have been confident in our suppliers and these 3rd party audits confirm there are no human rights violations, and the high standards from our supplier’s responsible sourcing code of conduct were being lived up to.”
This echoes what Glassons CEO Graeme Popplewell told The Register in response to the report.
He said Glassons uses a small number of factories in China to produce its clothes.
“Glassons have a very detailed supplier manual that each supplier must adhere to,” Popplewell said.
“Our factories are well known to us and are required to provide inspection certification. We regularly visit them and any claim Glassons supports unethical processes is entirely unjust.”
Many commenters commended Glassons on its initiative, while others were suspicious about the lack of a report to back up its statements and asked the tough questions.
Glassons said there won’t be a single report to share with the public, as it had to audit each supplier separately.
“To protect the privacy of individual workers, as well as confidential business information, we aren't able to share the individual report,” it said on Facebook.
“So what’s the pay rate?” asked one commenter. Glassons replied: “Due to privacy of the workers, we cannot disclose their pay rates, however be assured they're paid over above the recommended living wage.”
In response to someone asking what hours workers did, Glassons responded, “Our suppliers keep to their local labour laws. Work hours are no more than eight hours per day, and no more than 40 hours a week on average. They must have at least one day off per week. Any overtime must not exceed three hours a day and no more than 36 hours per month on average.”
Glassons also directed customers to its sourcing code of conduct on its site, which outlines the legal requirements for suppliers.
Requirements include no child labour, no forced labour, no discrimination and paying employees the minimum wage required by local law.
The retailer also says going forward, its supply chain information will be provided to Baptist World Aid for its ethical fashion report.