The Transparency Act
The Transparency Act is an act relating to 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 with a certain amount of risks. We are the first to admit that some of the risks we´re facing are challenging to address, but we believe that taking one step at a time, will eventually bring us to where we need to be. We believe that industry collaborations, transparency and openness will be the key drivers in this work. The Transparency Act is truly a part of this, and we are more than willing to share information on where we are at and how we progress.
Taking a holistic approach to sustainability - caring for people and planet as we grow as a company - is the essence of our sustainability strategy. You can read more about that here.
Ever since we became a member of ethical trade Norway in 2017, we have been reporting annually on our responsible business practice and how we work with due diligence. The 2021 report can be read here. The report is based on OECD´s due diligence guidance for responsible business conduct.
Holzweiler Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct
Holzweiler´s policy, that guides our work on human rights and decent working conditions, is based on Ethical Trade´s template, with some additions adapted to our company. The policy is founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It can be found here.
Our Supplier code of conduct, that all our suppliers have committed themselves to follow, is made from the same framework and is a document that states our requirements and expectations to our suppliers. It can be found here.
Both documents are included in the terms & conditions on all orders we send to suppliers.
In 2021, our productions were distributed as follows:
Portugal (54,5%), China (36,25%), Italy (5,93%), Mauritius (1,3%), Lithuania (0,99%), India (0,49%), Turkey (0,45%) and Thailand (0.1%).
You can find a list of all suppliers here.
How we work with our suppliers
We value long-term partnerships with our suppliers and some of them we´ve been working with since we started producing back in 2012. As we are growing and expanding with new categories, we enter into collaborations with new production partners.
The importance of responsible business practice is a theme in the very first meeting with a potential partner, and is equated with other topics such as quality, price, volume and dialogue. Next step is our onboarding program, which is included in Holzweiler´s buying practice, where we also share expectations and requirements for both our suppliers and ourselves. Holzweiler Purchasing Practice can be found here.
Risk assessments is a crucial part working in our industry. The mapping of risks starts with an assessment of the textile industry's challenges in the areas where our productions are located. 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.
Next step is to assess risks at the production sites. Ongoing dialogue and equal respect is key in our collaboration with suppliers.
In 2021 we went into collaboration with TrusTrace, using their digital platform for supply chain mapping, supplier follow-ups and product traceability.
On this platform we store information on tier 1 suppliers (agents and factories) and will move on to fabric/yarn suppliers. As of today, we send trace requests on some of our products and as a start we ask them to share information on factory, fabric/yarn supplier and dye facility as a minimum.
We also use it to collect data from our suppliers from questionnaires, covering ethics, working conditions, health and safety, environmental impact and supply chain mapping. The convention from working manually to digitally is not 100% complete yet, but we are progressing step-by step. Data is also collected from third-party audit reports and corrective action plans.
The risk in the country of production, the responses from questionnaires, information from audit reports, as well as the productions site´s policies, systems and routines for sustainable business practice, will constitute the risks we need to approach.
There is rarely lack of documentation from our producers. The biggest challenge we see is to be able to validate whether the information is correct – including information we get from audit reports. Implementing measures for validation will be a focus going forward.
We do not initiate our own audits if we approve the audit that has already been carried out, In order to avoid audit fatigue, where the factories uses enormous resources to do the same audits multiple times.
Due to Covid we didn´t had the chance to visit suppliers and factories over the past two years. The dialogue went digitally, but in 2021 we engaged a consultant that works fulltime from our Holzweiler Shanghai Office, with factory visits and quality control as his area.
We are expanding this team moving forward, to better secure our productions and the garment workers making our products in China.
Based on our risk assessments, our main areas of focus in 2022 are wages and workers representation.
We initiated a working group together with other companies in the Norwegian textile industry, on how to approach 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 to approach this issue. In addition, we joined Ethical Trade Norway´s Living wage Wednesdays seminars to gain more knowledge. Mapping and dialogue with the production facility is also how we´ve started to communicate with our suppliers on workers representation. It´s a complex field where we need to engage with the workers to hear their point of view as well.
Finding our approach to dealing with these issues, as well as making an action plan for improvement, is a target for 2022.
Moving on we are expanding our CSR team in Norway, to be able to fulfil our commitments.
To provide our customers with information on how our products have been made and by whom, in addition to facilitate circularity, we have started a collaboration with EON Group on product passport. Starting small with a few products from one supplier, and include more products, producers and information as we go. We are making the plans as we speak, launching in 2023.
For further questions on how we work related to sustainability, you are welcome to send a request to [email protected]