We’re happy to announce that Kuyichi is a proud member of the Fair Wear Foundation since January 2020. For us, this is an important step in taking our responsibility and working even harder on improving our supply chain. Although fair working conditions and long-term supplier relationships have always been in our DNA, our collaboration with the Fair Wear Foundation will help us to work even harder on supporting our suppliers in creating fair working conditions for all of their employees. Let’s dig deeper into our membership and what it means for our way of working.
What is the Fair Wear Foundation and why are we becoming a member?
The Fair Wear Foundation is an international independent organisation that fights for better labour conditions in the fashion industry, by working together with its members to improve their supply chains. Fair Wear primarily focuses on the part of the chain where the sewing, cutting and trimming takes place, which are the most human-intensive parts of the supply chain with the most direct influence by the brand.
We believe that brands have the power to change the industry. As an idealistic company, we want to take full responsibility. Clothing is a labour-intensive industry, a garment goes through many hands before it reaches your closet. We chose to join Fair Wear because there will always be room for improvement, no matter how certified your factories are or how good your relationship to your supplier is. Sustainability and ethical production are continuous processes and the world is ever-evolving. There will always be risks in any supply chain and the countries we work with.
We see it as our responsibility to be on top of everything that’s happening in the chain and structurally work on improving our working conditions, together with our suppliers. We have a strong relationship with our suppliers, based on mutual trust and respect. This is a solid ground to work from and keep improving, solve every problem in the supply chain and create a system that is fair to everyone. Our membership is also a commitment to them.
Kuyichi has previously been an Fair Wear member from 2013 to 2015. Since 2016 we’ve been rebuilding our brand and we are happy that we will re-join forces with Fair Wear to fight for a better clothing industry in this 2.0 collaboration.
What does our membership mean?
All Fair Wear members must annually demonstrate that they have taken significant steps towards better working conditions, together with their suppliers. Fair Wear works on the principals of their ‘Code of Labour Practice’ (their own code of conduct), based on 8 internationally agreed labour standards:
- Employment is freely chosen
- There is no discrimination in employment
- No exploitation of child labour
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- Payment of living wage
- Reasonable hours of work
- Safe and healthy working conditions
- Legally binding employment relationships
To manage risks in your supply chain, you’ll need to check your factories with audits. During an audit, a facility is checked by a validated third party. By looking into their policies, financial books and doing a facility check, they will form an accurate audit report of how our supplier performs and in what areas there is the need for improvements. These audits result in a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), in which actions and a timeline is set to work together, brand and supplier, on improvements.
Fair Wear has local teams in the biggest production countries that can perform these audits. However, audits by other third parties can also be valid if they meet the Fair Wear standards. Audits are an important, if not the most important, tool to work on improving working conditions in the fashion industry.
Annual Brand Performance Check
We’ll start our Fair Wear journey with a work plan (including all data of our cut-make-trim suppliers and all of their subcontractors) for the next year. Together with Fair Wear we’ll determine which areas we will focus on short term and define actions for long term projects. This work plan will be judged by their Brand Performance Check, an annual assessment. This report will be published on www.fairwear.org and our website later this year, available for everyone to read more about how we’ve scored on Fair Wear’s criteria.
Our membership also means that all of our cut-make-trim suppliers and their subcontractors have to sign the code of labour practices and display a complaint system in a clearly visible place in their factory, which contains the contact details of Fair Wear. Via them, all complaints will end up with us and we can take joint action to resolve the situation.
Knowledge and tools for improvement
With thirty years of experience, Fair Wear will also provide access to knowledge, tools, networks, country studies and up-to-date information about working conditions in the areas where we produce. Also, when a complaint comes up in the supply chain, Fair Wear has the connection to NGO’s and the knowledge to help solve it locally.
“Every supply chain contains points of improvement that we must keep working on as a brand. Through our membership at Fair Wear we can provide better support to our factories to treat all of their employees right. And hopefully inspire other brands to look more critically at their own chain as well. It’s much needed. ” – Peter Schuitema, CEO Kuyichi.