Ethical sourcing has always been at the heart of the ELK brand. From the very beginning, we chose to work with small suppliers where we could develop a close relationship and visit them regularly to see and understand where and how our products are made.
Our intention is that all ELK products are produced using socially and environmentally responsible materials and processes, in a safe working environment, with all workers paid a fair wage and treated with dignity and respect.
All suppliers who work with us are required to operate with transparency, run an honest and fair business, make themselves available for independent assessment and continually strive for improvement. At ELK we do know who our makers are. We know where our products are made. We love the process of being involved and understanding each step of how our products are created.
Our focus is on ensuring safe working conditions and fair wages, supporting diversity, equal opportunity and other positive social practices. We are working with our suppliers to map our supply chain all the way back to farm and encourage them to implement better processes where we identify opportunities.
SUPPLIER CODE OF CONDUCT
New suppliers are assessed for appropriate labour practices, workers’ rights, workplace safety, business ethics and environmental practices before we will commence any production. We visit all of our direct product suppliers at least once a year, with our key suppliers in China and India visited two to three times a year.
We have a Supplier Code of Conduct which outlines our strict expectations with regards to labour practices and environmental standards, covering human rights, health and safety, working hours and wages. It is based on the principles outlined in the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, and the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It includes additional guidelines for environmental stewardship, restricted substances, animal welfare and ethical business practices.
The key requirements of our Supplier Code of Conduct include:
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labour is not used
- Living wages are paid
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practised
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is used
- Environmental stewardship is demonstrated
- Chemicals are managed responsibly
- Animals are treated humanely
- Ethical business standards are upheld
- No subcontracting without the consent of ELK
All suppliers of ELK product must agree to and sign our Supplier Code of Conduct and undergo periodic independent social compliance audits to ensure our strict standards are being met.
ELK is a member of Sedex (www.sedexglobal.com), home to one of the world’s largest collaborative platform for buyers, suppliers and auditors to store, share and report on supply chain information. The platform is used by more than 50,000 members in over 150 countries to manage performance around labour rights, health & safety, the environment and business ethics.
Sedex is not a standard setting body and does not approve or certify our policies and standards. Instead, being a member of Sedex allows our suppliers to share information with us about their ethical and environmental performance and we can use this information to help manage and improve ethical standards within our supply chain.
All ELK suppliers must have current Sedex membership or have verified third-party certification that demonstrates they are meeting our ethical and environmental standards.
One of our key priorities is ensuring that the people who make our products are paid a living wage. We consider a living wage to be a wage that is earned in a standard working week of not more than 48 hours, that affords a decent standard of living for the worker and their family. A living wage should cover adequate food, housing, healthcare, clothing, transportation, energy, water, childcare, education and allow for discretionary spending and saving for unexpected events.
Although all of our factories pay minimum wage or higher, we recognise that in many parts of the world there is a gap between minimum wage and the living wage that needs to be closed. We are commencing a long-term project to benchmark a living wage in our supplier regions and to work with our suppliers to identify and close any wage gaps that may exist.