April 24th 2014
G-Star does not own or operate any factories; instead we work together with a small group of skilful suppliers that share our passion to make a strong product. We aim to build a trustworthy and long-term relationship with these suppliers.
At the moment, half of G-Star’s production volume is manufactured by suppliers we work with for over 10 years. These suppliers are located in Asia, Europe and Africa; in countries including Bangladesh, China, Italy and Vietnam. We carefully select suppliers that share our values on quality and sustainability.
G-Star works with seven garment factories in Bangladesh that are predominantly vertically integrated. This means they perform all steps in the production process in-house, from spinning to garment making. We work with our suppliers in Bangladesh for their expertise and vertically integrated processes, making our supply chain manageable and transparent.
The garment industry in Bangladesh is expanding rapidly. It generates employment for several million Bangladeshi and accounts for a large portion of Bangladesh’s exports, making the industry crucial for the country’s future. At the same time, Bangladesh is a country in development with a situation of limited governmental organisation and poor control mechanisms. G-Star wants to help reach lasting progress for workers in Bangladesh’s garment industry by creating healthy and safe conditions in the industry. We make this happen by further expanding our efforts to improve social and environmental sustainability.
Social & Environmental Standards
G-Star feels responsible for the well-being of employees working in the factories where G-Star products are made. Therefore, we only work with suppliers that share our values on sustainable and responsible production, take ownership for meeting our standards and are prepared to improve.
What G-Star considers to be responsible production is summarised in the following standards:
- G-Star Supplier Code of Conduct: 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 and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, the SMETA Environmental Criteria and ISO 14000.
- G-Star Restricted Substances List (RSL): The RSL is the basis for monitoring the use of chemicals in G-Star products and follows international laws and regulations. With the RSL we work towards the target to reach zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from all our products and production processes by 2020. The list is therefore updated frequently.
- G-Star Materials Policy: The Materials Policy contains restrictions and requirements with respect to the use of raw materials for G-Star products and applies to all our suppliers.
To check whether our suppliers comply with our standards, G-Star has a compliance process in place using a combination of tools. This compliance process is managed by internal experts, checked by external independent organisations, and verified by MADE-BY. More information about our standards and our compliance process can be found on the Corporate Responsibility section of g-star.com. MADE-BY published the results of their verification over 2012 in a scorecard that can be found here: www.made-by.org/g-star.
Extra measures Bangladesh
For our production in Bangladesh we have taken some additional measures focused on the situation in this country:
- Extra support and monitoring by a local G-Star team on quality, chemical compliance and Social, Environmental, Health & Safety compliance. Because of knowledge of the local norms, customs and the situation at the supplier, the team is able to maintain intensive supervision and a constant dialogue with suppliers in Bangladesh. This results in weekly visits to all our suppliers by G-Star and close monitoring of the situation in the factories. Since subcontracting is only allowed under strict requirements and with approval of G-Star, a strict subcontracting control process is set up as well.
- Our local team in Bangladesh includes a certified thermographer trained to operate infrared cameras and software to identify deficiencies in buildings based on thermal patterns. Thermography can be applied to determine locations of pilasters and beams, leakages, moisture effecting constructions, electrical faults at fuse boxes, roofing defects, etc. This is part of the checks done by our local team, in addition to inspections done by external experts.
- Coaching and building capacity of suppliers. We offer our suppliers customised training and support them in organising internal trainings. We also inform suppliers about and invite them for relevant local conferences and workshops in order to create awareness and build knowledge.
- G-Star is a system partner of bluesign technologies ag. The bluesign® system brings together the entire textile manufacturing chain to manage all Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) aspects along the chain. In Bangladesh, the majority of our suppliers is in conversation with bluesign technologies ag or already working on a bluesign screening.
- G-Star is working together with Solidaridad and International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the ‘Cleaner Production Programme’ in Bangladesh. This 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. Several suppliers of G-Star participate in this programme.
- An extension of the Cleaner Production programme is the WaterPaCT programme in Bangladesh. G-Star signed up for this programme in 2013. The goal of WaterPaCT is to reach a reduction of water and energy consumption, improved chemical management, reduction of wastewater generation, improved water quality, and improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) conditions. Several suppliers of G-Star participate in the programme that has a proposed lead time of 4 years.
- All suppliers G-Star works with in Bangladesh are either a Bluesign member or participate in the WaterPaCT programme.
- Our GSRD Foundation supports projects focused on education and entrepreneurship in all our production countries, including Bangladesh. This way, we aim to offer the local community chances for a better future. Currently, the GSRD Foundation supports six education and vocational training projects in Bangladesh. A detailed description of the projects can be found on gsrdfoundation.com.
Fire and Building Safety
On the 14th of May, G-Star has publicly committed to support the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Within this agreement brands, suppliers, the Bangladeshi government, Industry Associations, NGOs and Trade Unions work together on a structural improvement of the safety in the Bangladeshi garment sector. The signatory brands finance and implement a joint fire and building safety programme that includes safety inspections and fire safety training at supplier factories.
As part of this agreement inspections have started as of February 2014 in factories that produce for the brands committed to the Accord, including G-Star. By September 2014 inspections are planned to be finalised.
For more information, please visit the website of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh: www.bangladeshaccord.org.