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The Transparency Act

The Transparency Act promotes enterprises’ transparency and work on fundamental human rights and decent working conditions. You can read more about it here. 

Being a part of the textile industry means dealing with complex supply chains that have a certain amount of risks. We are the first to admit that some of the risks we´re facing are challenging, but we believe that taking one step at a time will bring us to where we need to be. We believe that industry collaborations, transparency and openness are key to success.  

The Transparency Act is a part of this and keeps you updated on our plans and  progress. 

Due diligence and risk assessments are crucial to our industry. The mapping of risks starts with an assessment of the textile industry’s challenges in the areas where we produce our pieces. These can vary from country to country, both in terms of what the greatest risk is and the severity of the risk. To identify this, we use sources such as Ilo.org, transparency.org, and courses, networks and seminars with Ethical Trade Norway.  

Based on our overall risk assessments, our main focus areas are:

  • The design processes and choice of materials to embed longevity, circularity and reduce climate impact   
  • The amount of water and chemicals used in production 
  • To minimise textile waste  
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Fair wages, insurances, working hours, workers representation and freedom of association
  • Animal welfare 
  • Supply chain traceability and transparency

We take a holistic approach to sustainability, caring for people, animals and the planet as we grow. Our sustainability strategy also covers four main areas:  

  1. Climate and environment 
  2. Human rights and decent working conditions 
  3. Traceability and transparency 
  4. Customer engagement and connectivity

You can read more about that here.

Ever since we became a member of Ethical Trade Norway in 2017, we have been reporting on our responsible business practice and how we work with due diligence annually. The 2022 report can be read here.     

The report is based on OECD’s six steps for due diligence, guidance and principles for responsible business conduct.

Holzweiler policies and guidelines  

  • Supplier Code of Conduct: outlines our expectations and requirements for business partners such as suppliers, sub-suppliers and factories. 
  • Policy for Responsible Business Conduct: outlines the expectations of our own business conduct.        
  • Responsible Sourcing Policy: sets out human rights due diligence as a key part of sourcing of new suppliers, business partners and markets for production.   

These and other policies and our terms and conditions for orders are included in the onboarding of new suppliers.  All our policies and guidelines can be found here.

Our suppliers 

In 2022, the breakdown of where our products were sourced from was as follows: 

China (54%), Portugal (36%), Italy (6%)  

Remaining 4% comes from Lithuania (0,82%), Mauritius (0,76%), India (0,7%), Japan (0,54%), Turkey (0,65%), Spain (0,38%) and Thailand (0,22%).   

You can find a list of all suppliers here.

How we work with our suppliers 

We value long-term partnerships with our suppliers and have worked with some of them since we started producing back in 2012. As we continue to grow and expand with new categories, we enter into collaborations with new production partners. 

The importance of responsible business practice is discussed in the very first meeting with a potential partner, and is equated with other priorities such as quality, price, volume and dialogue. Next is our onboarding programme, which is included in Holzweiler´s buying practice, where we also share expectations and requirements for both our suppliers and ourselves. The Holzweiler Purchasing Practice can be found  here.

We then assess risks at the production sites. Ongoing dialogue and mutual respect are key when collaborating with suppliers. 

Since 2021 we have used Trustrace, a digital platform for supply chain mapping, communicating with suppliers and product traceability. We use Trustrace to follow up with existing suppliers, manage the onboarding of new suppliers and to gather data and input from all suppliers. 

On this platform, we store information on Tier 1 suppliers (agents and factories) and Tier 2 suppliers like fabric/yarn suppliers.  

We also use it to collect data from our suppliers through questionnaires, covering ethics, working conditions, health and safety, environmental impact and supply chain mapping. Data is also collected from third-party social audit reports and corrective action plans.   

We are gradually working towards collecting this information digitally. 

The risk in the country of production, the responses from questionnaires and audit reports, as well as the production site’s policies, systems and routines for sustainable business practice, contribute to the risks we need to approach. 

There is rarely a lack of documentation from our producers. The biggest challenge we see is how to validate whether the information is correct – including the information we get from audit reports. Implementing measures for validation is an ongoing focus. 

We do not initiate our own social audit if we have approved the audit that has already been carried out. Factories use enormous resources to carry out audits and we want to avoid audit fatigue.

Due to lockdown restrictions, we haven’t had the chance to visit some suppliers and factories over the past two years. The dialogue has been completed digitally. Two full-time employees from our Holzweiler Shanghai Office have been carrying out factory visits and inspections, quality control and sourcing.

Own purchasing practices and decent wages in the supply chain

Responsible purchasing practices  

Purchasing practices have an impact on workers’ well-being, working conditions at the production facilities and environment.   

We have an important role to play in upholding standards of social and environmental responsibility with our suppliers and we recognise the need to rebalance the power dynamic between us, as the buyer, and suppliers. As a step in this direction in 2022, Holzweiler joined the Responsible Purchasing Practice Learning and Implementation Community (LIC). With around 35 other garment brands and supply chain partners, we have been working together over the past two years, with the aim of implementing practical changes to purchasing practices, in order to give scope for improved supply chain working conditions.  

Over the next two years, we will continue to make changes and learn from other fashion brands, suppliers and industry experts. We are excited to share our progress with you. For more information read here.

Decent wages in the supply chain    

We are participating in a working group with other companies in the Norwegian textile industry on how to approach the living wage in production. This group is now being facilitated by Ethical Trade Norway. We started out by mapping wage levels at our factories and are looking at different methodologies and tools to approach this issue and communicate with our suppliers on workers representation. Ethical Trade Norway’s Living Wage Wednesday seminars have also been a useful source of knowledge. It’s a complex issue where we need to engage with the workers to hear their point of view.  

We hope to collaborate with Fair Wear Foundation to get more advice on this area.

In October 2022, we also expanded our CSR team in Norway to be able to work towards fulfilling our commitments. 

For further information on our sustainability goals and progress, you can read our annual reports:  

Responsible Business Conduct 2022

Holzweiler Sustainability Report 2022

or send a request to [email protected]