We are a value driven company. Working with social improvements demands long-term thinking, broad collaborations and knowledge of local conditions.
We are a value driven company. We believe that being responsible is fundamental to the success of our business and have been part of the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (IEH) since 2003. Every year we make an annual report to ETI on our efforts to improve working and environmental conditions in our supply chain. These reports are publicly available. Download our latest report here.
Our responsibility and efforts extend across our value chain. The challenges faced by the textile and garment industry are numerous and complex. We want to meet these challenges with focus on honesty and a commitment to develop and improve. Our goal is to create good and safe working conditions for the workers and ensure they have the ability to exercise their rights. This is at the heart of our Code of Conduct.
Working with social improvements demands long-term thinking, broad collaborations and knowledge of local conditions. We have achieved many important steps, but still have a long way to go.
how we work
We have established regional offices in our four major sourcing and production countries: China, Bangladesh, India and Turkey. Our local presence in these markets enables us to cooperate on improvements with our suppliers and their factories on the ground and on-site.
We have developed rigorous procedures to evaluate the conditions in the factories. Factory standards are assessed through factory visits, meetings, documentation checks and audits. Inspections are carried out both by 3rd party auditors and our internal CSR staff. These can be both announced and unannounced. At the inspections, all parts of a factory are surveyed thoroughly. Building features and workshops are checked; interviews with management and workers are conducted; and all relevant records, documents and licenses are examined.
The evaluations form the basis for improvement plans at the production sites. Any gap between our requirements and actual findings result in an improvement plan with specific activities and timeframe. These plans are follow-up by our CSR staff that visit the factories regularly.
In addition to continuous on-site follow-up activities, we initiate or take part in several projects, which allow us to work more specifically on certain aspects of our Code of Conduct.
Our Building & Fire Safety Project in India and Bangladesh together with Det Norske Veritas (DNV-GL) is an example of this type of project. Det Norske Veritas was engaged to conduct fire safety inspections. They assessed building structure, electrical instalments, emergency systems, escape routes, and the knowledge and awareness of management and workers. In addition, fire drills were initiated. Based on these inspections upgrades and improvements have been carried out at the production sites.
We do not own any factories, but cooperate with approximately 350 factories in Asia and Europe. It is important that we share a common approach to social responsibility and all factories we work with must agree to follow our Code of Conduct.
Our global factory list can be found here.
Code of Conduct
Together with IEH, we have developed a Code of Conduct which all of our brands and producers need to follow. Our Code of Conduct is founded on key UN and International Labour Organization conventions and documents.
Everyone involved in our production shall have the right to safe and good working conditions, aligned with human rights, workers rights, and applicable laws and regulations.
Read or download our Code of Conduct here.
In June 2013 we signed on to The Accord Bangladesh. This is an independent agreement between labor organizations, unions and textile companies that aim to ensure that all textile factories in Bangladesh are safe workplaces. Independent inspections on building structure, electrical installations and fire safety are being carried out at all our factories and upgrades will be conducted based on uncovered gaps. Training and worker involvement are important parts of the program. Go to The Accord for more information.
On the Accord website, you fill find information regarding factories improvement plans. Most factory inspections have now been carried out and factories are currently doing necessary upgrades. Many factories have made significant progress. Other have difficulties to comply with the set timeframe for improvements. In those cases we are working together with the Accord-team to make sure the compliance issues are handled within a reasonable time.
Please note you may experience some delay on the Accord-website with regards to current factory situations and actual implemented improvements. Do not hesitate to contact us should you have questions related to this matter.
In November 2018, the Government in Bangladesh made a decision to end its support for the continuation of the Bangladesh Accord-agreement. The Accord-agreement could be ended during the last period of 2018. Varner has made it clear that we strongly support the continuation of the Accord`s operations. We believe the agreement has been important and necessary for building safety and fire safety in factories. We have seen gradual improvement, however we believe the task to secure safe working conditions in Bangladesh is not finished. Varner has together with other brands and organizations worked for the continuation of the Accord. If the agreement is ended, we will search for solutions to maintain the safety level of the factories in Bangladesh.
We signed a letter to the government in Bangladesh together with other signatory brands to express our concern. Please read the letter here