G-Star constantly experiments with the endless possibilities of materials, styles and cuts to create products that are unique but recognisable for their consistent G-Star signature look. As G-Star does not own or operate any factories, we work together with skilful suppliers that share our passion to make a strong product.
Our philosophy and priority is to build a trustworthy and long-term relationship with these suppliers in order to ensure continuity of the quality, look and delivery of our collections. At the moment, about half of G-Star’s production volume is manufactured by suppliers we work with for over 10 years. Given the importance of the business relationship with our suppliers, we feel responsible to positively contribute to the working conditions of the people making our products.
We developed the G-Star Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure that G-Star products are made under fair and safe circumstances. This Code of Conduct outlines the minimum social and environmental standards we expect each factory to meet and gives guidelines hereto. The Code is based on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Core Conventions, the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, the SMETA Environmental Criteria and ISO 14000.
To verify whether our suppliers comply with our Code of Conduct, G-Star set up a compliance process using a combination of tools. As part of this process all our direct suppliers are audited on a regular basis by recognised, independent organisations. We also work on improving conditions further back in our supply chain and include indirect suppliers in the compliance process to the best of our ability.
View the G-Star code of conduct here.
Our suppliers play an important role in reaching our goal to make a strong product in a sustainable way. We are proud of the products we manufacture together with our suppliers and of the trustworthy and long-term relationships we have built up with them. The Manufacturing Map shows the factories that make G-Star products. All direct suppliers with whom G-Star has a business relationship for over two years are included in the map.
Visit the Manufacturing Map here.
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. In 2012 77% of our suppliers were audited and in 2013 we conducted audits at 86% of our suppliers. Over the course of these two years all our suppliers have been audited.
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. Experienced trainers such as SGS facilitate courses on specific environmental topics such as hazardous chemical use. As part of our commitment to reach zero discharge of hazardous chemicals, we work together with other brands to educate suppliers and promote a responsible chemicals management.
To avoid audit fatigue and a multiplication of different standards for suppliers that work for several brands, we decided not to develop our own auditing guidelines and standards. Instead, we use a public methodology called Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) for all social audits commissioned by G-Star. This methodology is based on the ETI Base Code, which is one of the references for and almost fully aligned to our G-Star Supplier Code of Conduct.
The SMETA methodology is designed by a multi-stakeholder panel composed of brands, NGOs, suppliers and auditing companies in response to the search for a methodology that enables sharing of audit information and collaborating between brands and suppliers.
G-Star works actively to prevent the use of chemicals that can have a harmful effect on health or the environment. The basis for monitoring the use of chemicals in G-Star products is the G-Star Restricted Substances List. This list follows international laws and regulations and is updated frequently. Our textile engineers and quality assurance specialists work together with suppliers on proper use of chemicals and compliance with the list.
We monitor compliance of our products and processes with the restrictions in the G-Star Restricted Substances List by performing risk assessments, auditing and testing of our garments.
View G-Star Restricted Substances List here.
G-Star does not allow the use of chemicals in our products that have a harmful effect on health or the environment. That is why we live up to strict quality and safety standard and regulations, and carefully monitor the use of chemicals in G-Star products with our Restricted Substances List (RSL). Despite all measures taken this unfortunately does not fully prevent that hazardous chemicals can end up in the water. That is why G-Star is committed to eliminate industrial releases of hazardous chemicals into the environment, and set the target to reach zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (ZDHC) from all our products and production processes by 2020. We have set up an action plan and have agreed on a Detox Solution Commitment with Greenpeace that include all measures necessary to integrate this target into our business activities. By joining the Joint Roadmap together with brands including adidas Group, C&A, Esprit, H&M, Inditex, Jack Wolfskin, Levi Strauss & Co., Li Ning, M&S, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., NIKE, Inc., PUMA SE and PVH Corp., we also made the joint commitment to help lead the industry towards Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC).
As part of a process of continuous improvement and in line with our public Detox Solution Commitment with Greenpeace we have so far reached results that include:
- Elimination of APEOs since the end of August 2013
- Elimination of Phthalates since the end of September 2013
- Implementation of the G-Star MRSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substance List) in October 2014
- Elimination of all PFCs (short and long chain PFCs) since 1 January 2015
Download our Progress Report 2014 on ZDHC
Download our G-Star MRSL
Download Case Study on APEO Alternative
Download Case Study on PVC and Phthalates Alternative
Download Case Study on PFC-Free Alternative
Download the ZDHC Audit Protocol Report
Download the ZDHC MRSL
Download the ZDHC Research List
Download our G-Star Detox Strategy 2014
Download our Progress Report 2013 on ZDHC
Download ZDHC Framework for Prioritising Hazardous Chemicals
Download the G-Star Water Discharge Report 2
Download the G-Star Report on Phthalates Elimination Policy
Download the G-Star Water Discharge Report 1
Download the G-Star Report on APEO Elimination Policy
Download Joint Roadmap Version 2
Download our G-Star steps to develop further substitution case studies
Download our steps to a Screening Methodology
Download our Detox Solution Commitment with Greenpeace (2013)
Download our Progress Report 2012 on ZDHC
Download our Individual Action Plan
Download G-Star's 2012 commitment towards ZDHC
Download Joint Roadmap Version 1
Since March 2013 G-Star is a system partner of bluesign technologies ag. We are committed to implement their bluesign® standard in our supply chain. This is an independent standard that guarantees that products are free of hazardous chemicals. By joining bluesign technologies ag we support our environmental goals and encourage suppliers in our entire textile production chain, from raw materials to textile manufacturers, to come to a healthy, safe and environmentally friendly production process.
For more information about the bluesign® system, please visit www.bluesign.com
G-Star is working together with Solidaridad and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on implementing cleaner production measures at factories in Bangladesh.
This Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PACT) programme is focused on doing assessments at factories on water, energy, dye and chemical usage. Based on the assessment factories receive support to produce with less water, energy and chemicals and to invest in new technologies. This way inputs are minimised, and waste and emissions are reduced, while maintaining or increasing production.
So far, 263 factories have been reached, a total of 6,3 million cubic meters of water have been saved and 111,000 tons of greenhouse gases have been avoided (source: Solidaridad).
Several suppliers of G-Star that represent 90% of the G-Star production in Bangladesh, participate in this programme, including Epyllion, Square, Vertex, Regency and DBL. Factories are supported to make basic improvements (good housekeeping such as putting switched on water hoses in the laundry, or add isolation to pipes that transport warm water) and in-depth improvements focussed on making processes more efficient and sustainable.
The current status of the programme at our Bangladesh suppliers is as follows:
Wage development is primarily a role for the government, however, we believe that we have the ability to contribute to a positive change. That is why our G-Star Supplier Code of Conduct, which has to be followed by all our suppliers, states the following on wages:
Suppliers must pay employees at least the minimum wage required by local law or the prevailing local industry wage (whichever is higher) based on the work performed. Wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.
The first step towards a fair wage is calculating what wage level can cover a worker’s basic needs. Living wage calculations must take into account some common factors including the number of family members to be supported, the basic nutritional needs of a worker and other basic needs including housing, healthcare, education and some basic savings.
G-Star defines this as follows: a fair wage should be earned during a standard working week (maximum of 48 hours per week) and should provide for the basic needs of the family and for some discretionary income.
G-Star is currently working to further identify what a fair wage is in our production countries and how to work with our suppliers on reaching this wage level. We have set up a roadmap establishing the steps we need to take to achieve the payment of a fair wage in our supply chain and started by monitoring the wages paid by our suppliers against living wage figures.
G-Star cannot achieve this ambition alone; close collaboration with suppliers, other brands, NGOs, trade unions and (local) governments is necessary. On a national level, the trade organisations of the Dutch fashion industry; Modint, INRETAIL and ‘Vereniging van Grootwinkelbedrijven in Textiel’, presented a road-map to make the Dutch textile and garment sector more sustainable, called the Dutch National Action Plan. In this road-map the ambition was formulated that in 2020 living wage must be paid throughout the supply chains of the Dutch brands that endorse the roadmap. G-Star shares this ambition and is actively involved in the living wage working group of the Dutch National Action Plan.
In the coming months we will continue our work towards a fair wage and we expect to start our first pilot project with our most important suppliers in 2015.