When Carhartt was founded in 1889, Hamilton Carhartt spoke about the role of a responsible business, stating that it should do “the just and honest thing, gainful if possible.” Today, we look back with pride on this heritage and take inspiration from it, as we aim to continue to live these values every day.
We constantly strive to improve our business practices for the benefit of the environment, our employees, the workers producing our products and our consumers. It is a long-term journey that we commit to continue step by step.
Our Corporate Responsibility revolves around three areas:
Carhartt WIP products are manufactured and sold globally. This globalization and the complexity of textile supply chains bring challenges to the way we produce our garments. It also highlights potentially negative aspects of garment production, making us very careful in how we select our suppliers and who we choose to partner with. As a premium brand, Carhartt WIP is committed to producing high quality, ethically manufactured products, whilst also providing good value to our customers.
Carhartt works with a Code of Conduct which is periodically revised and defines the minimum set of standards that we expect our factories to meet. The Code is based on internationally accepted labor standards, including the International Labour Organization’s Core Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We aim to partner with companies that share our corporate values and, like us, are committed to continuous improvement on social and environmental practices.
We choose our partners with longevity in mind and place great value on building lasting business relationships. The production of Carhartt WIP garments is centered around a company-owned factory in Tunisia and a network of suppliers globally. We set-up the following monitoring system with all our suppliers:
Initial alignment - As an initial step, Carhartt WIP suppliers must agree to align their operations with our Code of Conduct and are encouraged to extend the code upstream to their suppliers. Information about the supplier is gathered through a self-assessment and a physical visit from our internal teams.
Independent verification of working conditions - Working conditions at Carhartt WIP sourced facilities are audited by third-party auditors according to, for example, the “Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production” (WRAP) or the “SA8000® Standard”, amongst others. These independent processes verify the working conditions through a detailed assessment comprising of:
– in-depth interviews with both management and workers
– a physical inspection of factories
– a review of documentation and records.
Internal verification - We are aware that certifications and third-party auditing alone do not bring absolute certainty that all issues are solved at factory level. As a result, we also have an internal team who visits our suppliers to support them in order to achieve compliance with our Code of Conduct. We aim for a transparent and long-term dialogue with our partners, with a desire for continuous improvement.
Restricted Substances List - We actively work to prevent the use of harmful chemicals to protect both customer’s health and the environment. Our “Restricted Substances List” (RSL) represents our minimum requirement when it comes to chemical management. This list follows international laws and regulations and is updated on a yearly basis. To ensure compliance, we work closely with our suppliers in order for them to understand the RSL and test our products each season.
Carhartt WIP manufactures its products in two main regions:
EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa) - Carhartt WIP has owned and operated a facility in Tunisia for the past 15 years. The comfort and wellbeing of our near 700 employees have been a key aspect for us from the beginning. In order to monitor this, we decided to become SA8000 certified. This means that good working conditions and healthy management-employee relationships are in place, which we are able to monitor on a continuous basis thanks to the management systems we put in place through the SA8000 certification. In addition, most of the fabrics used for our iconic styles are produced in Europe from suppliers that have been our partners for many years.
Asia - Carhartt WIP also works with suppliers in Asia. We make it an essential requirement to source from suppliers with a very good social and environmental track record. Our goal is to establish long-term relationships with leading suppliers, based on trust and mutual respect. We regularly visit our suppliers to review the working conditions and work with them in order to reach compliance with our Code of Conduct.
Carhartt WIP uses different production processes to make its pants look the way they look. Almost eighty percent of our bottoms are “rinsed” or “rigid”. This means that they are not heavily treated and therefore have a lower impact on the environment compared to other techniques.
Based on an assessment of our different product finishing techniques through the EIM (Environmental Impact Measuring) software, these rinsed and rigid washes score green on energy, water, and chemical consumption meaning a low impact on the environment. Based on these results, we are working on optimizing the finishes that have a higher environmental impact by researching more sustainable solutions available on the market.
Since its inception in 1889, Carhartt’s mission has been to create enduring apparel. Maintaining high standards on quality, comfort and durability are essential aspects of our brand’s offer. Therefore, the materials we use in our garments have to pass our detailed and expert testing.
More than half of our collection is made out of cotton. Although cotton is a natural fiber, we acknowledge that conventional cotton production has negative social and environmental impacts, which we want to help reduce through our sourcing decisions. Beyond this, we are also exploring options to reduce our cotton use by looking into other fibers.
Organic Cotton - An environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown naturally, without the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. This means that it is better for the health of the farmers growing it, the local community and for the environment. We are currently in the planning of a range of organic cotton products, which will be announced soon.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) - We are a member of the “Better Cotton Initiative” (BCI). The initiative, which was founded in 2009, aims to make the global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future, by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. BCI’s goal is to cover thirty percent of the global cotton production by 2020. Carhartt WIP is committed to increasing the sourcing of Better Cotton in its products year on year. One year in our membership, we will be sourcing 20% of our total cotton as BCI.
Only a couple of Carhartt WIP jackets/parkas contain feather and down. We acknowledge the bad conditions under which some geese and ducks are bred. As a result, from Fall Winter 18, we will only source down certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS).
We actively engage with our fabric suppliers to explore sustainable alternatives that match our quality and durability requirements. Carhartt WIP constantly reviews the available technologies to seek out opportunities for improvement.
Our biggest social and environmental impact lies within the supply chain. Yet, we are committed to running our operations efficiently with no unnecessary harm to the environment. Our operations are set-up around a central headquarters and warehouse, both located in Weil am Rhein, Germany.
Logistics - The warehouse is fully equipped with state of the art technology in order to make the packing of our products as efficient as possible. All of the boxes that we use to dispatch our products to customers are made out of 65–77 percent recycled material depending on the size of the box. For overseas shipping, we use ocean transport – and only in exceptional cases do we use air freight. We also ensure that containers are full before being shipped out.
Solar Panels - Since 2005, the rooftop of our headquarters, our warehouse and our outlet in Weil am Rhein have gradually been covered with solar panels representing today a surface of approximately ten thousand square meters. This enables us to generate roughly 1.3 million Kilowatt-hours of energy per year, which can provide about 430 households in Germany with electricity.
Green Electricity - Due to broader renewable energy legislation on solar panels in Germany, the electricity sourced by our solar panels has to be fed into the general network. However, in an effort to reduce our environmental impact, we reviewed our energy choices and now use solely green electricity from water power for all our locations in Germany. We are now, step by step expanding to other countries.
As a premium brand, Carhartt WIP is committed to conducting business in a fair and ethical manner. Consistent with this commitment, we have established this Code of Conduct as a minimum set of standards for both our internal operations as well as our business partners. This Code is based on internationally accepted labor standards, including the International Labor Organization’s Core Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While this Code establishes minimum standards, we aspire to partner with companies that share our corporate values and are committed to continuous process improvements as it relates to social and environmental practices.
As used herein, the term vendor is defined broadly to cover the range of Carhartt WIP's supply chain partners, including cut and sew suppliers providing finished garments, direct and “nominated” suppliers of fabrics, trims and other raw materials, license partners, transportation and logistics providers and other supply chain partners.
Employment Relationship - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will adopt and adhere to rules and conditions of employment that respect workers and, at a minimum, safeguard their rights under national and international labor and social security laws and regulations.
Compliance with Laws and Workplace Regulations - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will comply with laws and regulations in all locations where they conduct business including those relating to labor, social insurances/security, worker health and safety, and the environment. It is further expected that vendors and their authorized subcontractors will cooperate fully with Carhartt in its compliance with laws applicable to Carhartt in countries where Carhartt does business.
Prohibition of Forced Labor - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will not use involuntary, prison or trafficked labor or labor otherwise obtained by force, fraud or coercion -- indentured, bonded or otherwise.
Prohibition of Child Labor - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will not hire any employees under the age of 15, or under the age interfering with compulsory schooling, or under the minimum age established by law, whichever is greater.
Prohibition of Harassment or Abuse - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will endeavor to establish workplaces where every employee is treated with respect and dignity. No employee shall be subjected to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment, abuse or corporal punishment.
Compensation and Benefits - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will pay at least the minimum total compensation required by local law, including all mandated wages, allowances and benefits.
Hours of Work - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will conform to hours worked each day, and days worked each week that do not exceed the legal limitations of the countries in which they operate. Vendors will provide at least one day (24 hours) off in every seven-day period, except as required to meet urgent business needs. Vendors are encouraged to control total weekly hours to 60 or less for all employees and to make all overtime voluntary.
Prohibition of Discrimination - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will employ, pay, promote, and terminate workers on the basis of their ability to do the job, rather than on the basis of personal characteristics or beliefs. No person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, compensation, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, social group or ethnic origin.
Health and Safety - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will provide a safe and healthy work environment to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of employers’ facilities. Carhartt production is prohibited in multi-floor factories with more than one tenant. Where residential housing is provided for workers, vendors will provide safe and healthy housing.
Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Environmental - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will comply with environmental rules, regulations and standards applicable to their operations, and will adopt responsible measures to mitigate negative impacts that the workplace has on the environment.
Customs Compliance - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will comply with applicable customs law and, in particular, will establish and maintain programs to comply with customs laws regarding illegal transshipment of apparel products.
Security - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will maintain facility security procedures to guard against the introduction of non-manifested cargo into outbound shipments (e.g. drugs, explosives, biohazards, and/or other contraband). Vendors are further expected to cooperate with WIP in meeting AEO supply chain security & safety standards.
Bribery and Corruption - Carhartt WIP vendors and their authorized subcontractors will not, in connection with any aspect of their business with Carhartt, directly or indirectly give or offer any bribe, kickback or other improper payment or benefit to influence another individual, company, organization, government official or body, or political party or candidate, regardless of whether it is officially tolerated or condoned.