G-Star’s compliance process is built around the G-Star Supplier Code of Conduct. A combination of tools is continuously used by G-Star to verify whether suppliers comply with our standards. When we start a business relationship with a supplier, the following steps are taken:
We require all potential new suppliers to complete a self-assessment. This way, G-Star obtains detailed information about the factory and the social and environmental conditions on-site and, equally important, the supplier is made aware of our standards. As our Code of Conduct is an accurate interpretation of sustainability guidelines that apply to the industry, G-Star also sees the questionnaire as a valuable training tool to build sustainability awareness among our suppliers. In addition, an internal G-Star team visits the factory for a first on-site Corporate Responsibility check.
Before we place our first order, every supplier has to sign our G-Star Supplier Declaration, committing to comply fully and unconditionally with the Code of Conduct.
Subsequently, independent audits take place to inspect whether the factory is compliant with the G-Star standards. Regular audits are conducted using a methodology that includes in-depth interviews with both management and workers, a physical inspection of factories and a review of documentation and records.
The outcomes of the audit are discussed with the supplier concerned. In instances where suppliers are found to need improvement, G-Star works closely with them to both document and implement an improvement programme in order to reach compliance in an agreed time frame. Through monitoring we are aware of the local situation. However, we do acknowledge that monitoring in itself does not bring us answers to solve possible issues found during inspection. To tackle any issue, we need to dive deeper to identify the root causes behind it. That is why we not only focus on monitoring compliance but also on coaching and building up capacity of suppliers in order to address corporate responsibility issues at the point of origin. This means sharing the knowledge we have gained with suppliers and guiding and encouraging them to move forward, not softening our approach or relaxing our standards. Rather than highlighting non-compliances, we are engaging with suppliers and helping them to integrate good social and environmental performance into their business.
Cooperation in the industry is important to reach supplier ownership. Experience, dialogue and partnerships with training bureaus give us a roadmap on how to approach coaching and capacity building.