From ensuring Human Rights in our factories to decreasing Water Usage in our production, we’ve put meaningful effort against improving the sustainability of our products.
Social issues relating to our product are those that impact people and our ability to maintain a healthy and productive society. Our focus here has been against protecting the Human Rights of those who work within our Supply Chain.
We aim to work with best-in-class factories and mills, defined by the quality of the product and by how they work. The human rights and environmental performance of our partners are part of our onboarding assessment and overall supplier scorecards. We use the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights to form the basis of our approach, recognizing our responsibility to uphold human rights and provide workers with access to remedy.
For each new factory, we do an onboarding assessment which includes a review of the factory’s employment practices and labour rights. We evaluate working hours, wages, freedom of association and health and safety amongst other areas. These standards are outlined in our Code of Conduct which is signed by our supply chain partners. The Code of Conduct aligns with leading standards in the fashion industry, including established international frameworks such as the International Bill of Human Rights , the International Labour Organization’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code.
Responsible sourcing decisions are made at a country level as well as a factory level. Aritzia has a cross-functional country analysis process, including a review of the human rights and environmental context of a country, before deciding whether to begin business there. This approach allows us to integrate sustainability into our decision-making from the start.
Once onboarded, we continue to assess supplier performance against our Code of Conduct, using local and independent specialists including Elevate and Impactt as our preferred partners. Our teams also conduct visits to build relationships and trust with our partners and to ensure that remediation and improvements are both sustainable and upheld.
When we find opportunities for improvement, we work collaboratively to develop a corrective action plan. Aritzia provides additional support in the form of in-person consulting with local expert organizations and online training. If a manufacturer is unable or unwilling to rectify issues, we’ll reconsider our business relationship with them, while ensuring that the rights and best interests of their workers are upheld.
We’re a partner of the ILO-IFC Better Work Program, which signals to supply chain partners, governments and workers that labour rights and decent working conditions are a necessary precondition for Aritzia.
Better Work is a partnership program of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and a member of the World Bank Group. They uphold the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human rights and ensure supply partners and businesses respect the human rights of those working in the supply chain and safeguarding access to remedy and grievance mechanisms.
For more information on our supply chain transparency, please see our page on the California Transparency Act.
The environmental impacts of raw material production, fabric processing and product manufacturing are significant. It’s crucial to be conscious of emissions, water, chemistry and waste impacts of our raw material choices and manufacturing partners.
Across the fashion business, raw material production is where some of the highest environmental impacts sit. Therefore, it’s one of our biggest focus areas. In the last few years we’ve made significant inroads adopting sustainable alternatives for our top raw materials and are committed to continual progress.
- Minimize the use of harmful pesticides
- Promote water stewardship
- Care for the health of soil
- Enhance biodiversity and responsible land use
- Care for and preserve fibre quality
We only use goose down that’s certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS).
Every step of the supply chain, down to the farm, has been inspected by an accredited independent certification body that upholds the RDS's strict requirements — ensuring our down is sourced from geese who receive adequate food, space, shelter and fresh water, and who are never force-fed or live-plucked.
To support the development of solutions to this issue, we’ve collaborated with the Ocean Wise Plastics Lab research team as well as Metro Vancouver, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, The McLean Foundation, OneOcean Expeditions and other retailers. The research will further understanding of the impacts of microfibres and identify opportunities to improve our future manufacturing to reduce the impact on our oceans.
We don’t use fur or angora on the basis of animal welfare and have banned garment sandblasting based on worker welfare. Aritzia has a comprehensive Materials Sourcing Policy, to which we hold our partners and suppliers accountable. It covers our standards for materials, animal and worker welfare, fabric processes and treatments, and raw material origin and traceability. We obtain chain of custody and facility certificate documentation from our supplier partners to validate all claims that we make.
To monitor the environmental performance of our supply chain partners, we adopted the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) in 2018, an industry tool created by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The Higg FEM is a self-assessment used by suppliers to report on their environmental management and performance against seven key areas: energy management systems, water, effluent, chemicals, energy, emissions and waste.
Aritzia requires Higg FEM completion by all finished good apparel factories, strategic accessories factories and strategic fabric suppliers, with a priority on their wet processing (i.e., dyeing, finishing) facilities, due to their inherent higher and more complex water and chemical impacts. By 2020 independent verification of the Higg FEM self-assessment had been completed at strategic facilities, which make up over 60% of our finished good apparel factories.
We’re using Higg FEM to review our performance against the industry, and to inform how we work with our suppliers on environmental stewardship. We believe better environmental performance equals better business.