New Zealanders want to know that the overseas workers who make their clothes are not mistreated. That’s why since 2004 we’ve supported fair pay, humane working conditions, and better lives for workers around the world.
Shopping at The Warehouse is a great way to Wear Your Ethics and look great doing it.
- Years ago, back when mullets were trendy, we used to rely on agents to find us clothing to bring home from overseas and sell at The Warehouse.
- It wasn’t the most cost-effective way of doing things, so in 2004 we opened our first overseas office in Shanghai, China.
- Because we were now sourcing direct, we were able to see clearly how our clothing was coming through the “supply chain”.
- So we began working with our suppliers to improve worker safety and welfare, regular and overtime wages, employment standards, and monitoring factories’ impacts on the local environment. And we’ve never stopped
- Why are we talking about it now? More and more customers have been asking us how we can sell quality garments and our other product ranges at everyday low prices if they’re made in factories overseas. You don’t accept workers or the environment being mistreated, and neither do we.
- We launched our ethical sourcing programme in 2004, and we’ve been making improvements year after year in the factories we’re involved with.
- All of our suppliers know about our ethical sourcing programme, which focuses on protecting the workers who make the brands you’ll only find on sale at The Warehouse.
- Workers in the factories we’re involved with must have their health and safety needs met. Workplaces must be clean and well lit, and there must be access to support services and protection from harassment and discrimination.
- Different countries have different wages. We make sure the workers get all the income they are entitled to or better.
- We’re realistic about overtime, especially in really competitive markets. We expect our factory bosses to be realistic about it too. That means extended hours must be rewarded with fair overtime pay.
- Work must be voluntary and of course we actively check to ensure there are no underage or child workers. The right to choose to seek employment and to resign is sacred, as is the right for fair workplace relations under local law – including union activity and protests.
- Our suppliers must also comply with the local environmental regulations.
- Every year we take on and we keep suppliers who are as committed as we are to making things better for the workers and local communities. We also “break up” with the factories who don't meet our standards and who fail to make the necessary improvements.
- How we bring you great fashion at an everyday low price while ensuring our ethical standards are met.
Our in-house designers turn the hottest trends into the coolest designs. Then we send something called a “tech pack” to our suppliers overseas so they know exactly what to do, right down to the last button or stitch.
The Warehouse doesn’t just operate in New Zealand anymore! We have our own offices in our supplier markets so we can manage the whole supply process smoothly and fairly.
We drop in often to make sure factory bosses look after their employees and the environment. If they slip up, we take action. There’s no excuse for compromising on human rights.
We make sure the clothes we design are made to last by keeping an eye on production from start to finish, from the tech pack to the clothing rack. Everyone takes pride in the work we’re doing.
You deserve to feel good in the clothes you wear, and our teams overseas deserve to feel good making them. It’s our responsibility to make it happen.
- In the 14 years our programme has been in force we have played our part in a significant improvement in workplace standards in the countries we source from. Of course we strive to ensure the worst kinds of labour practives aren;t allowed in our supplier's factories.
- But we do much more than just police our standards. We actively train factory management in how they can improve their practices through face to face training and our library of ELearning lessons. We collaborate with likeminded organisations and brands to pool our resources. Initiatives like Nirapon, HerProject and the Responsible Workplace Program in Malaysia
- This is the exciting dimension of our ethical sourcing programme - where the purchases you make in our stores or online are being converted every day into tangible improvements for the workers who make these products.
- Global business sustainability consultants ELEVATE have been assessing our ethical sourcing programme for a decade. Watch this video to learn Dr Kevin Franklin’s expert view of our work, what we’re doing well, and what we should focus on in the future.
- We’re prepared to put in the effort, because it’s important. People are important. You’ve got a part to play too. Shopping at The Warehouse is a huge vote of confidence in what we’re all doing to make life better for communities in New Zealand and around the world.
- If what we’re doing sounds good to you, we’d appreciate you telling your friends and whanau there’s a way to shop for great fashion and feel good about it. There is so much we would like to share with you about the great work we doing in this space . If you’d like to know more, read our full Ethical Sourcing Report.