CHECKING WORKING CONDITIONS IN FACTORIES
LPP dynamically develops, and an inseparable part of this development is our sense of responsibility for all who are part of our business. We know that this approach is appreciated by our partners, shareholders, and above all by our customers, whose appreciation and trust in our brands are the essence for the existence of LPP.
Currently, we focus primarily on verification of production conditions at our suppliers in Bangladesh, but in recent years LPP auditors have also visited factories in Turkey, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam and India and China. To date, the value of the outlays for this purpose is PLN 16 m.
LPP activity under the ACCORD agreement
As part of the international agreement Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which we have been a signatory for four years as the only company in Poland, we actively participate in audits and execution of repair plans in Bangladesh factories. ACCORD is an agreement that aims at verifying and improving fire protection, electrical installations as well as factory buildings − so it focuses primarily on issues closely related to the safety of people working in the clothing industry.
The signatories of the agreement, i.e. global clothing companies, play a key role in the activities of ACCORD. By developing a recovery plan for a particular factory, ACCORD is working closely with the company that is the key recipient of the plant. LPP representatives also participate in this process in the factories for which LPP is the largest contractor.
80 factories producing garments for our brands are strictly controlled by ACCORD:
- electrical installations replaced or upgraded in 90% of plants;
- additional fire protection installed in 75% of the companies;
- as recommended, the structure of buildings reinforced in 60% of plants, and in many cases production moved to new facilities.
In addition to the health and safety checks, an important aspect of ACCORD’s operations is also the provision of substantive support to factory owners and the education of ordinary workers on occupational safety and health as well as their rights. Factories for which LPP is the key contractor are involved in both education projects and consultations on the implementation of recovery plans.
For more information on the official ACCORD website
Factory audits conducted by LPP
Regardless of what we do as a signatory to the ACCORD agreement, we also consistently carry out independent audits with our suppliers. At the present stage, we focus primarily on the entities we work with in Bangladesh and for whom we are a key recipient − our impact is greatest there. According to our Code of Conduct, audits need not be announced and their integral part is talking to rank-and-file employees.
The basic tool for the dissemination of the values and standards that we expect to be met is the LPP Code of Conduct. It also used to verify whether these policies are implemented in the day-to-day business practices of our suppliers. The document, whose update and implementation we completed in the spring of 2015, includes our requirements such as remuneration policies, absolute prohibition of child labour and youth employment regulations, voluntary work, freedom of association, equal treatment of all workers, health and safety standards and suppliers’ obligations on environmental issues.
The following three entities formed in recent years within the corporate structure of LPP regularly control the improvement of working conditions at our suppliers:
- The Audit Department functioning at our head office is responsible for building standards and requirements for suppliers, and for their effective verification.
- Representative office of LPP in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, whose tasks include conducting audits at the plants we commission our production.
- Corporate Communications and Sustainability Department which deals with setting the key directions in corporate CSR policy and communicates the effects of the actions in this area to the public.
In addition in our factory auditing process we are also supported by recognised, professional third-party companies specialising in this field. We are currently finalising the terms of cooperation with the international SGS audit firm to assess risk in the area of compliance with the LPP Code of Conduct by the factories to which LPP commissions the production of its collections.
CODE OF CONDUCT
The production of clothes for LPP brands is outsourced to factories located in several countries in Asia and Europe (including Poland). Our supply chain control efforts are based on our Code of Conduct which defines LPP’s regulations for its suppliers. The Code draws on key provisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the recommendations of international organizations which monitor working conditions in the apparel manufacturing industry.
The Code provides guidelines for all our foreign suppliers and defines their obligations in regard to working conditions, which include:
- compensation policy and formal requirements for employment
- an absolute prohibition of child labor and regulations on the employment of young workers
- voluntary employment
- freedom of association
- a prohibition of employee discrimination on the basis of sex, age, disability, origin, race, marital status, sexual orientation, political views, membership (or lack thereof) in organizations, or religious or caste heritage
- workplace safety and hygiene standards
- suppliers’ obligations in regard to environmental protection.
Ensuring that the Code’s provisions are being followed is a crucial part of our supply chain control efforts. Therefore, we reserve the right to conduct unannounced audits at all manufacturing facilities working for us.
The suppliers’ Code of Conduct aims to address the real needs of employees involved in producing our collections. In order to ensure this, the Code may be modified or altered to meet future needs.
ENDING OUR USE OF ANGORA WOOL
As an increasingly conscious company we are taking steps to limit the environmental impact of producing our collections. One example of our commitment to being a responsible global corporate citizen is our Management Board’s November 2014 decision to end the use of Angora rabbit wool in our collections. This decision was based on concerns about the welfare of the Angora rabbits bred to produce the wool.
In light of the glaring animal rights abuses involved in harvesting Angora fur and the inability to significantly control the conditions in which the rabbits are bred, we made the decision to end the use of Angora wool in all future collections produced for our brands.
As awareness of manufacturing’s impact on the environment and on all those involved in the production process continues to grow, we are confident that our expanding efforts at supply chain control will be welcomed by our brands’ clients as well as the general public.
ALL LPP BRANDS FREE FROM NATURAL FUR
Considering the increasing awareness of the issue of animal rights and expectations of our customers in this area as well as the challenges of reducing the negative impact that our activities have on the environment, we decided to abandon the use of natural fur in the offer all our brands. Collections offered at stores in the Autumn/Winter 2016 season are now free from elements made of this type of material.We have decided to provide models manufactured earlier (mostly accessories and add-ons) to the charity institutions in Gdansk supporting women in difficult situations.
In summer 2016, we entered into a formal agreement with the organisation “Open Cages”, in which we made a solid commitment to resign from natural fur and joined the international initiative Fur Free Retailer. The decision to abandon the use of natural fur is another important step, the effect of which is to increase the transparency of the supply chain through the conscious choice of materials used to manufacture our collections. We know that corporate social responsibility, and in particular environmental issues are increasingly important for our customers. Therefore, whenever the designer’s vision and the current trend require the use of fur, just as some of our market competitors, our brand will make use of the highest quality synthetic materials.
Our efforts at improving workplace conditions at clothing factories are conducted in a transparent manner, where we share relevant information with our communities. It is our desire that everyone, regardless of their status in our business, will be aware of LPP’s corporate responsibility efforts. Creating an open communications policy is part of this commitment.
Our Corporate Communications and Sustainable Growth Department works closely with the Management Board in setting the priorities for our efforts at increasing control over LPP’s supply chain. It is also responsible for communicating these efforts to the public. We want our stakeholders to feel that that they are an important part of the changes taking place within our Company.