FatFace works with over 130 garment, shoes and accessories factories across 14 countries. We seek to establish long-term trading relationships with our suppliers, based on trust and longevity. We pride ourselves on working with partners that share our values, meet our high expectations and recognise that we have a duty to understand and address the social and environmental issues that may exist in our supply chain. Our top 20 suppliers have a combined relationship with FatFace of over 170 years.
Our supplier code of conduct ‘The FatFace Way of Life’ forms the foundation of our relationships with all of our suppliers and factories. All new suppliers and factories are required to sign up to this code and provide an ethical audit when they enter the FatFace supply chain. We also require annual ethical audits for all of our factories, which need to be semi-announced or unannounced and conform to the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) format. This is what we base our risk assessment on, and what forms the basis of our engagement with suppliers on issues such as environmental impact and working conditions. We also conducted our own Verification Assessments at 27 key sites, 11 of which received follow up visits. We use these assessments to check progress on previous findings and give factories valuable guidance on how to achieve sustainable changes in working conditions. This is especially true for follow up visits, where our local team members are able to establish working relationships with factory management and lend their expertise to help factories make changes to complex management systems. We’ll be building on this work in the coming year, seeking to achieve measurable improvements in working conditions in our key supplier sites.
We continued to meet all of our key performance indicators for evaluating our supply chain in 2017/18; 100% of our manufacturing partners have signed The FatFace Way of Life and 99% have undergone a 3rd party audit. We discuss sustainability issues during our day to day meetings with suppliers and visits to supplier sites, to ensure that suppliers know this is part of how we do business.
Going beyond audits
We know that we need to collaborate with other companies and stakeholders in order to achieve change at a scale that reflects the globalised nature of our supply chain. Our active membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a cornerstone of our responsible sourcing programme and allows us to better understand the challenges in our sourcing countries, whilst also enabling us to build industry relationships to address issues.
Over the past year FatFace has been an active member of the ETI’s Turkey garment programme, which seeks to address some of the issues faced by Syrian migrant workers and refugees. The programme is progressing well, and the ETI has managed to lobby the Turkish government to formalise the employment status of thousands of refugees and help to secure improved employment conditions.
We have remained committed signatories of the Bangladesh Accord for Building and Fire Safety, along with 226 other retail brands and manufacturers. We’re pleased with the progress that our manufacturing sites have made in improving the safety of their work sites, with over 85% of the corrective actions originally identified now verified as closed.
We seek to create high quality and more sustainable products that our customers feel proud to wear. To do this we believe that we should build in sustainability from the beginning, at the design stage. In Summer 2016 we committed to sourcing 100% of our cotton products from sustainable sources by 2020, and in our Spring Summer 2018 range over 80% of our products were either certified organic or supported the Better Cotton Initiative. We’re thrilled with our progress in this area and are working closely with all of our suppliers to ensure that the remaining products in our range are from sustainable sources by our 2020 deadline.
We are members of the Leather Working Group (LWG), which seeks to improve the environmental impact of the leather industry. Through this membership we are increasing the visibility that we have of where our leather comes from, not just where the final shoes or bags are made. We are committing to sourcing up to 50% of our leather from LWG-certified tanneries by 2020.
In November 2016, in collaboration with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) we committed to remove all duck and goose down from our supply chain. Our Autumn / Winter 2017 ranges contain no down, and where possible we have replaced this with partially-recycled polyester insulation. We hope to increase our use of sustainable and recycled materials across all of our product ranges over the coming years.
 SEDEX is a not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.