Let's be social


FAQ about Claire Group's CSR work.

Why does Claire Group take CSR seriously?
We have always been working with social responsibility in our company ? even before it was named CSR. We fundamentally believe that companies have a social responsibility to employees and to the local societies. When our production was in Denmark, it was meaningful to us to give our workers good conditions. Now we mostly produce in China, India and Europe, but it's still important to us, that all employees ? also at our suppliers - have decent working conditions. Since 2008 we have been working more strategically with CSR issues.

What is included in your CSR-work?
We have build-up a CSR-programme, which for the time being contains two columns. First of all our environmental work which is about being a greener company and avoid hazardous chemicals. Secondly our ethics work, which bring human rights and working conditions in the production-chain into focus. The programme will continuously be extended with new issues.

What are the rules in your Code of Conduct?
For many years we worked with our own Code of Conduct, but in 2007 we chose to join the BSCI-concept and use the BSCI Code of Conduct. Child labour, forced labour and discrimination are prohibited and the code of conduct demands security in work, reasonable working hours, fair wages and environmentally protection. From our suppliers we knew that they wanted a common code of conduct to reduce their resources for administration with several Code of Conducts. We have been able to fulfil that wish.

Is child labour still a problem?
Today it is very rare to find children working in the factories, as child labour has been very much in focus for some years now. According to our Code of Conduct a child must be at least 15 years old to work in factories producing for us. Furthermore we demand that young workers between 15 and 18 are not engaged with dangerous work. We reject child labour, and if we find kids at the factories we will find an appropriate job for them after school-hours, AND demand, that they return to school. That is what social responsibility means to us.

What does BSCI mean?
The full name behind BSCI is, ?Business Social Compliance Initiative?. BSCI is a European ethics monitoring initiative for companies focussing on responsibility in the supply chain. More than 600 companies in 10 countries have joined the initiative. In 2007 we decided that this concept would be the right for us. Our suppliers have been very pleased with that decision.

Why did Claire Group choose BSCI?
Claire Group A/S has chosen the BSCI-concept because many of our customers in Europe knew the concept since it was al ready adopted by Jysk, Lidl, Coop and Danish Supermarket. The concept has been widespread in short time, and it gives us the tools we need in our daily work. Furthermore almost all suppliers knew BSCI in advance.

How do you control that suppliers comply with the Code of Conduct?
All BSCI-members must request from their suppliers that they accept to have audit done in their factories by professional independent auditors. At present regular members have to commit themselves to auditing 2/3 of their buying volume. We believe that we can get even further, but because we from time to time have to take in new suppliers we can never promise that all our suppliers are in compliance with the Code of Conduct. We find that independent third-part audits are a central point in the BSCI concept and we are proud to be a part of this concept.

What do you do to secure that new suppliers are acceptable?
Before new suppliers can be accepted, they must fill out a self-assessment questionnaire, to give us answers to a number of basic questions about the environment and fundamental workers rights. If the answers are satisfactory, we will consider working together. Later on the supplier must follow our CSR ? program and have independent audits done, in order for us to be sure that the production can live up to our Code of Conduct now or within a reasonable time. Most important is that the supplier is prepared to work seriously towards our goal.

What does a BSCI audit reveal?
Almost every first audit has disclosed critical situations in the production. Especially occupational health and safety, working hours and compensation are challenging. However non conformities are revealed during audit and before the re-audit takes place the supplier often solves the problems. The employees will see a major improvement in their working conditions and that is useful also to the supplier, because he can easier maintain and attract new workers.

Does audits help?
Yes, audits helps. 2/3 of our suppliers have in a very short time obtained better working conditions. However we are still working to influence the last 1/3 of our suppliers. On a voluntary basis our suppliers would never have gotten that far without a system with training, audit and consequences.

What happens if a supplier does not live up to your Code of Conduct?
If we find out that a supplier does not live up to our Code of Conduct, we help him to make an action plan with deadlines for the necessary improvements. These deadlines are determined in close cooperation with the supplier and if we can not see any improvements and we are convinced that the supplier is not interested, we will terminate the relationship.

Does BSCI also cover environmental challenges?
No, BSCI concept is about human rights and workers rights not about environmental issues. For that reason Claire Group has developed an environmental programme, and among others a list of restricted chemicals, that all suppliers must sign and respect. We carry out random test on a regular basis in our production countries.

Do the prints on your clothes contain phthalates?
Phthalates is a softening chemical often used in prints on T-shirts. We always try to convince our suppliers about the fact that phthalates and other dangerous chemicals can and must be replaced by less harmful products. EU rules on phthalates are of course complied with and our chemical program contains sample tests.

Do you use real fur in your products?
No, we never use real fur in our clothes. We abandon cruelty to animals and the use of real fur from animals bred for the purpose of using the leather and fur.

What is your view on Mulesing?
We condemn mulesing. Animals must be treated with respect and dignity and mulesing is a barbaric form of sheep cutting. The method is used in Australia to avoid flystrike, because anesthesia is too expensive. We canĀ“t avoid using Merino wool, but we have instructed our suppliers, that they must ensure it is mulesing free wool used in our wool products. We believe that our consumers agree with us that this is important, and thereby are willing to pay a little extra for our wool products.

How is Claire Group a part of a globalized world?
We are an international company with manufacturing in China, India and Europe. We have stores in 20 countries. Our approach to employees and partners is based on respect and dignity. It is natural for us to respect human rights and we are a company where diversity and equality go hand in hand. Our commitment to the UN Global Compact Initiative is a natural framework for our work with social responsibility

Why are you both a member of BSCI and UN Global Compact?
The Global Compact Initiative is a framework for our entire CSR-work. BSCI is mostly regarding responsible supply chain management. The combination is a perfect match for our current CSR effort.

What is your position on corruption?
We obviously refrain from using corruption and bribery in every sense and we avoid any payment that is not fair and legal. For everybody in our company is it a must that national legislation must be complied with wherever we operate and in most countries corruption is forbidden. We influence our suppliers with our attitude, and we expect them to meet the national legislation.