"Our commitment to our social responsibility provides the foundation for all our business. Our core objectives in this respect are: to operate in a responsible and ethical manner in every sense and across all dimensions of our business and to commit to the sustainability of creating unique products that hold their intrinsic value, in the process ensuring we give back value to the environment, culture and communities in every place where our brand has a presence. Our determination to pursue these aims is expressed in every platform of our corporate culture; in our relations with industry partners and with our contractors and suppliers all along our chain of production. We intend to continue our efforts in development of standards for community and human resources, responsible ethical sourcing and protection of the environment as a reflection of our ethical values. This is where the future of our business lies and we are unwavering in our dedication to establishing a gold standard across these key areas. This commitment to long-term, sustainable growth requires continuous and ongoing evaluation to improve our systems, taking responsibility for operating a business and maintaining a supply chain that respects the planet as well as those living on it." - Karen Walker
Our Ethical Values:
Karen Walker's ethical values of responsibility, uniqueness, quality and connection, are at the heart of what we do.
Responsibility requires engagement with every stage of product creation, examining all our practices with suppliers and manufacturers.
Uniqueness, and the commitment to creative authenticity, has established our distinctive handwriting.
Quality, not just in the make and creation of our products but across all expressions of the brand from the retail experience through to back of house operations, is an ongoing commitment to our customers.
We commit to strong, open and honest connections with our community of customers, staff, brand partners, manufacturing partners and the general public. These connections are vital for the long-term relationships of our business, and we are committed to giving back to the communities that we work within.
Code of Conduct:
We have established a clear and stringent Manufacturer's Agreement with a Code of Conduct for Social Compliance.
This Code applies to all aspects of Karen Walker Group. Moreover, all business partners, manufacturers and suppliers of finished goods, as well as cloth, and anyone who undertakes work on our behalf must read, agree to and sign the Agreement.
Our business partners, manufacturers and suppliers are required to respect, foster and promote the safety, dignity and freedom of their employees and to ensure their subcontractors do the same. See our detailed and complete Code of Conduct outlining our position on child labour, involuntary labour, disciplinary practices, discrimination, health and safety, environmental protection, workers' rights, compliance auditing and corrective action taken for violations of the Code at the end of this statement.
Responsible Ethical Sourcing:
We are committed to creating unique products that are well designed, using the highest quality materials. These materials must align with our commitment to Responsible Ethical Sourcing:
We do not use products that have been tested on animals. We use no angora, feathers or fur. We do not use any products that have been derived from endangered species. We do not use any products that have been derived from animals slaughtered exclusively for their skin, horns, bones, feathers or any other material. We acknowledge the occasional use of shearling as a by-product of farming in New Zealand. These pelts are meticulously sourced from a single supplier and are taken from naturally stillborn lambs.
We do not use cotton sourced from Uzbekistan. We use no denim that has undergone sandblasting. We use no azo dyes or formaldehyde in our fabrics.
We are undergoing a current review of the transparency of our supply chain with a key focus on the traceability of trims, working closely with our trim suppliers.
Our countries of manufacture and supply for Karen Walker ready-to-wear are: New Zealand, Romania and China. Our materials are sourced from New Zealand, China, Italy, France, Japan and Spain.
Protection of the Environment:
Environmental sustainability, caring for and safeguarding the environment, is both a key commitment in our day-to-day operations and a long-term core value. Ensuring all our products comply with environmental laws and regulations, we are constantly looking at future strategies to improve performance.
We respect and protect the communities and local areas where we work and are always looking for ways to operate in harmony with the spirit of the place. We encourage the same sensitive approach to be undertaken by our industry partners and suppliers. There is always potential to enhance our practices, and we continue to assess opportunities to reduce environmental impact.
CODE OF CONDUCT
No person shall be employed under the age of 15, or under the age for completing compulsory education, whichever is higher. Employers must verify the age of their employees and maintain copies of their workers' proof of age. Employers must follow all applicable laws and regulations regarding working hours and conditions for minors.
There shall be no use of involuntary labour. "Involuntary Labour" is defined as work or service which is extracted from any person under threat or penalty for its non-performance and for which the worker does not offer himself or herself voluntarily, and includes all manner of prison (or other incarceration), bonded, indentured and forced labour.
There shall be no use of corporal punishment or any other form of physical or psychological coercion or intimidation against employees.
All employees must be employed solely on the basis of their ability to do the job and shall not be discriminated against on the basis of age, gender, racial characteristics, maternity or marital status, nationality or cultural, religious or personal beliefs or otherwise in relation to hiring, wages, benefits, termination or retirement.
Health and Safety
Employers shall maintain a clean, safe and healthy workplace in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Employers shall ensure that workers have access to clean drinking water, sanitary washing facilities and an adequate number of toilets, fire extinguishers and fire exits and that workplaces provide adequate lighting and ventilation. Employers shall ensure that the aforementioned standards are also met in any canteen, dormitory and rest and recreational areas that are provided for workers.
Employers shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations in respect of protecting the environment and maintain procedures for notifying local authorities in the event of an environmental accident resulting from the employer's operations.
Wages and Benefits
Employers shall provide wages and benefits that comply with all applicable laws and regulations or match the prevailing local manufacturing or industry rates, whichever is higher. Overtime pay shall be calculated at the legally required rate, regardless of whether workers are compensated hourly or by piece rate. All people employed directly by us or by companies we partner with or who manufacture for us are paid at least minimum wage. Our goal is working towards a living wage commitment from 100% of our manufacturers by April 2017.
Employers shall not require employees to work, including overtime, more than 60 hours per week or more than any maximum number of hours per week established by applicable laws and regulations, whichever is less. Employers shall guarantee that employees receive at least one day off in every seven-day cycle.
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Employers shall respect the right of employees to associate, organise and bargain collectively in a legal and peaceful manner.
Familiarisation and Display of This Code of Conduct
Employers shall familiarise employees with this Code of Conduct and display this Code of Conduct, translated into local languages, at each of their facilities in a place readily visible and accessible to employees.
Employers shall comply with all legal requirements applicable to the conduct of their businesses, including but not limited to, those set out above and all laws related to bribery, corruption and other prohibited business practices.
Contractors and Suppliers
Employers shall ensure that their contractors and suppliers adhere to this Code of Conduct.
Monitoring of Compliance - Audits
Employers authorise Karen Walker and its independent external auditors to conduct scheduled and unscheduled inspections and audits of their facilities for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Code of Conduct. Auditors have unrestricted access and the right to review all employee-related books and records maintained by employers and to interview employees. Audits are carried out prior to commencement of contract with all factories and ongoing every 9 to 15 months.
In the event of a violation, Karen Walker Group and the employer concerned shall agree upon a corrective action plan to eliminate the problem in a timely manner. A period of one month is the stand-down for a re-audit. If the Code is breached on three occasions Karen Walker Group will advise corrective action resulting in termination of the business relationship.
Karen Walker Group is committed to long-term relationships with suppliers and manufacturers and shall in any way possible help to provide implementation assistance required for the process of continuous review and improvement of working conditions, including training and in-factory consultations.
Any questions regarding these Code standards or concerns that the Code is not being upheld should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Social Responsibility Department. All correspondence is treated as confidential.
INDUSTRY ORGANISATION PARTNERSHIPS
Karen Walker Group currently works with the following agencies for change:
Child Labor Free
Child Labor Free accreditation certifies that a brand's supply chain, products and manufacturers are child labour free. Karen Walker is fully accredited for our ready-to-wear manufacturing.
United Nations' ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI)
A United Nations' fashion project, the EFI connects artisans from the developing world to the international industry. Workers in the programme earn a living wage under dignified working conditions, with a commitment to minimal environmental impact. Karen Walker has worked with the EFI continually since 2012 and new collaborations continue.
Breast Cancer Cure
Breast Cancer Cure is New Zealand's only not-for-profit organisation established solely to support research into breast cancer. Breast Cancer Cure is committed to finding a CURE for breast cancer by 2018. Karen Walker has been an ambassador for Breast Cancer Cure (formerly Breast Cancer Research Trust) for over 15 years.
SPCA New Zealand
The SPCA works to advance the welfare of all animals in New Zealand and helps protect animals who are sick, injured, lost, abused or simply abandoned. It is the only charity with the power to prosecute people under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Karen Walker and its retail stores fundraise for the SPCA throughout the year.
Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
Ralph Lauren created Fashion Targets Breast Cancer in 1994 in memory of fashion editor Nina Hyde who died of breast cancer. The campaign has a presence in 14 countries around the world. In 2015 Karen Walker designed the FTBC T-shirt for the Australian campaign, which raised funds for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and its advancement of breast cancer research. The T-shirt is currently for sale via TheIconic.com.au
Friends of Finn
Friends of Finn works with The Humane Society of The United States to stop the inhumane treatment of ogs in puppy mills. Since its inception in 2010, Friends of Finn has raised more than $1.5 million for puppy mill education and awareness campaigns. Karen Walker is proud to help raise awareness and funds for Friends of Finn.
Make-A-Wish New Zealand
Make-A-Wish's mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Karen Walker supports Make-A-Wish New Zealand's projects and fundraisers throughout the year.
For charity and sponsorship enquiries please contact: