According to the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative):
Ethical trade means that retailers, brands and their suppliers take responsibility for improving the working conditions of the people who make the products they sell. Most of these workers are employed by supplier companies around the world, many of them based in poor countries where laws designed to protect workers' rights are inadequate or not enforced.
Companies with a commitment to ethical trade adopt a code of labour practice that they expect all their suppliers to work towards. Such codes address issues like wages, hours of work, health and safety and the right to join free trade unions.
We have a strict policy on fair and ethical trading and most of our factories already produce products for major sports brands that have the same high standards. We regularly check the factories by visits from head office personnel as well as having Quality Controllers moving from factory to factory on a daily basis. We are constantly striving to improve our company and our supplier's performance in all aspects of ethical trade.
The (ETI) is a ground-breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations that work in partnership to improve the lives of workers across the globe that make or grow consumer goods - everything from tea to T-shirts, from flowers to footballs. We have adopted the ETI Base Code for dealing with all our suppliers. Our Key buying staff are all ETI and Sedex trained.
We are working to continually improve our ethical trade credentials but as all the members of ETI recognise this is a continual process of improvements to all aspects of the way we conduct business with both suppliers and stakeholders. As part of our supplier review all our factories will be undertaking an Ethical Trade audit report. We are a full member of SEDEX which is a not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains. If a factory has an existing report we are happy to accept these when submitted to SEDEX. Where reports do not exist we work with SGS, the world's leading inspection and certification company to review factories according to their social accountability standard SA8000. SGS are an approved inspector for the ETI.
This inspection process allows SWI detailed information on:
The factory's Social Accountability according to SA8000 standard, and vender/factory's production capability, facility, capacity, quality management practices and their system non-conformities, including technical capability, machines maintenance, incoming material check, in-process quality control, final quality assurance as well as communication, document control, complaints handling, private label product development capability, and good employment/labour practices. It provides relevant objective data such as photos and hardcopy to our project managers. Deviation will be documented and communicated to the SWI quality manager for resolution.
The SGS auditor will communicate with SWI about non-conformance points found during the auditing, and also, the SGS quality supervisor should recommend the next action to SWI accordingly.
Our quality standards are based on branded textile standards and independent testing is conducted by SGS both in China and in the UK. We have a very experienced QC manager based at head office with 30 over years' experience in the sportswear trade supplying major sports brands and a network of QC's in our main production areas. This is an area we pride ourselves on. We supply the best quality articles in the industry.
We are constantly reviewing any issues on this and have a policy of shipping full containers from the Far East which saves on shipping and transport as well as using the newest environmentally friendly dye stuffs on products to protect the environment. We further design all garments to be washed on a max temp of 40 deg.
The current relocation to a new warehouse and office has provided us with a great opportunity to lower our carbon footprint by incorporating the latest energy saving designs approved by the carbon trust.
The ETI Base Code is founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and is an internationally recognised code of labour practice.
1. Employment is freely chosen
1.1 There is no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour.
1.2 Workers are not required to lodge "deposits" or their identity papers with their employer and are free to leave their employer after reasonable notice.
2. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
2.1 Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.
2.2 The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities.
2.3 Workers representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.
2.4 Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.
3. Working conditions are safe and hygienic
3.1 A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with, or occurring in the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.
3.2 Workers shall receive regular and recorded health and safety training, and such training shall be repeated for new or reassigned workers.
3.3 Access to clean toilet facilities and to potable water, and, if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage shall be provided.
3.4 Accommodation, where provided, shall be clean, safe, and meet the basic needs of the workers.
3.5 The company observing the code shall assign responsibility for health and safety to a senior management representative.
4. Child labour shall not be used
4.1 There shall be no new recruitment of child labour.
4.2 Companies shall develop or participate in and contribute to policies and programmes which provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour to enable her or him to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child; "child" and "child labour" being defined in the appendices.
4.3 Children and young persons under 18 shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.
4.4 These policies and procedures shall conform to the provisions of the relevant ILO standards.
5. Living wages are paid
5.1 Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.
5.2 All workers shall be provided with written and understandable Information about their employment conditions in respect to wages before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid.
5.3 Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted nor shall any deductions from wages not provided for by national law be permitted without the expressed permission of the worker concerned. All disciplinary measures should be recorded.
6. Working hours are not excessive
6.1 Working hours comply with national laws and benchmark industry standards, whichever affords greater protection.
6.2 In any event, workers shall not on a regular basis be required to work in excess of 48 hours per week and shall be provided with at least one day off for every 7 day period on average. Overtime shall be voluntary, shall not exceed 12 hours per week, shall not be demanded on a regular basis and shall always be compensated at a premium rate.
7. No discrimination is practised
7.1 There is no discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.
8. Regular employment is provided
8.1 To every extent possible work performed must be on the basis of recognised employment relationship established through national law and practice.
8.2 Obligations to employees under labour or social security laws and regulations arising from the regular employment relationship shall not be avoided through the use of labour-only contracting, sub- contracting, or home-working arrangements, or through apprenticeship schemes where there is no real intent to impart skills or provide regular employment, nor shall any such obligations be avoided through the excessive use of fixed-term contracts of employment.
9. No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
9.1 Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.