Ralph Lauren has said it will work with strategic suppliers to understand capacities so garment workers are not forced to work excessive hours.
The luxury fashion brand published its Global Citizenship and Sustainability report in which it outlined a series of goals to improve relationships with suppliers and increase use of sustainable materials in clothing.
In the report Ralph Lauren acknowledged the role of apparel brands in causing excessive working hours for garment workers within their supply chains.
Orders placed on short notice mean factories may choose to illegally subcontract work or impose longer working hours on workers.
The report said: “Before placing an order we confirm the factory’s capacity to complete it without excessive working or subcontracting. We also established remediation capacity-building programmes to better prepare new suppliers to meet our capacity requirements and also help our existing suppliers improve their performance and efficiency so they can increase capacity without requiring longer working hours.”
Ralph Lauren said it would be rolling out a wage management strategy to all strategic suppliers by 2023, to ensure garment workers are paid fairly.
As part of its commitment Ralph Lauren said it is finalising a new supplier engagement strategy to identify strategic suppliers and engage with them in a more meaningful way, including bi-annual conferences to outline priorities and challenges.
The strategy will see the brand increase production with strategic and key suppliers from 60% to 80% by 2022.
Ralph Lauren has also pledged to only use 100% sustainably-sourced materials, such as cotton, viscose and polyester, by 2025. And it aims to remove hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2025.
The report added: “This year, we added a new step to our design process that encourages our designers to review excess fabrics from previous seasons when fabricating new lines. Not only does this keep material from landfill, it also reduces our purchasing cost.”
Any leftover fabrics not used by the brand will be donated to avoid ending up in landfill.
The company outlined its plan to extend its sustainability goals to its corporate procurement, citing the example of purchasing sustainably-sourced coffee for its in-store coffee shops.
“In the coming year, we will prioritise working with suppliers that provide responsible e-waste management, single-use plastic alternatives, and circular economy solutions,” it said.
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