At THE ICONIC, we are committed to ensuring decent working conditions and human rights are upheld throughout our supply chain. We’re going beyond compliance to enable dignity and empowerment for the people who make our products.

Every purchase impacts the people who make our products. Upholding ethics isn’t optional, which is why we train workers in our Own Brand factories to understand and voice their rights.

We’re upskilling our team in ethical trade, supply chain traceability and responsible purchasing practices, while supporting our suppliers’ and partners’ capabilities.

We’re also improving transparency by building stronger supply chain relationships, and getting on the ground to understand and improve conditions.

We maintain zero tolerance to modern slavery and labour abuses, and defend fundamental human rights.

  • Collaborating with our third-party brand partners to ensure they all meet our human rights standards.
  • Continuing living wage assessments at all of our Own Brand factories.
  • Ensuring our teams are always operating in line with our Responsible Purchasing Practices.
  • Enabling all workers effective grievance channels through our in factory assessments and implementing independent grievance mechanisms.

Supply Chain Worker Wellbeing & Empowerment

We facilitate programs that seek to improve livelihoods for the people working in the factories and supply chains making our Own Brand products. These programs enable effective worker voice mechanisms through training and capacity building related to positive work practices designed to empower and have a positive impact on workers’ lives. These programs have assessed and implemented effective grievance mechanisms available to 77% of our Tier 1 factory workers.

Our underpinning Supplier Code of Conduct outlines our environmental, human rights, labour, health and safety standards and expectations, and applies to our manufacturers, their subcontractors and suppliers of inputs and raw materials. These minimum standards are referenced in all supplier contracts and based on international measures and regulations, including the International Labour Organisation's fundamental Conventions, and the Base Code of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). 

Supply Chain Worker Wellbeing & EmpowermentSupply Chain Worker Wellbeing & Empowerment

Our Own Brands — AERE, Atmos&Here, Dazie, Double Oak Mills, Endless, Lover, Minima Esenciales, SPURR, Staple Superior —  are produced in 45 independent supplying factories in China (37), India (5) and Bangladesh (3). Over 12,500 people are employed in those locations, 45% of which are female. A public list of all THE ICONIC's final-stage factories is updated on a monthly basis and can be downloaded here or found on the Open Supply Hub database

Subcontracting from these facilities is not permitted without prior approval as a part of the Purchase Order Terms stated in THE ICONIC’s contract with suppliers who must commit to ensuring production takes place in nominated and approved factories. THE ICONIC has processes in place to identify unapproved subcontractors and, whenever identified, they are also audited and suppliers issued with contractual breach or termination notices. 

Our audit program, which applies to all first and second tier factories, involves regular third-party audits and on-site factory visits assessing all elements of our Code of Conduct. All audits involve interviews with production workers. In the interest of reducing audit fatigue, we continue to mutually accept third-party audits aligned with our code of conduct, completed for other customers. At least 60% of the audits conducted at our active factories were conducted on a semi-announced basis. These audits enable us to track the use of migrant, temporary, and agency workers, as well as their use of labour brokers and recruitment fees, and to gain visibility of the worker training programs and grievance mechanisms that exist in these factories. 

Audits also provide wage-related information, which we continue to use to inform our living wage assessment work against the Anker methodology supported by the Global Living Wage Coalition. To date, we have conducted living wage assessments at 18% of our factory base. These assessments have identified that not only are all workers (including lowest paid workers) receiving the minimum wage payment, but 87% of workers at these factories are receiving at, or above, the recognised living wage benchmark for that region. All factories must undergo a full audit every 24 months, with additional follow-up third-party audits and factory visits by THE ICONIC team in between. These audits assess and verify that any issues identified during the initial audit have been improved, and ensure all factories working with THE ICONIC demonstrate a continuous commitment to meeting our standards.

We recognise that there can be times where our standards are not met by our factory partners for reasons such as systemic industry issues, which includes the topics of overtime and social insurance. We are committed to working with our supply chain to support continuous improvement and in 2023, over 57% (combined quarterly average) of all audit issues across active factories were remediated. Non-compliance management continues to remain an ongoing focus for us in collaboration with suppliers and factories to ensure we uphold our commitment to decent working conditions.

We recognise there is a need to go beyond our audit program to drive meaningful change in order to support our suppliers in improving the social and environmental conditions within our supply chain. This begins with deepened relationships with our factories to gain a better understanding of the social contexts in which our products are made.

Our team regularly conducts face-to-face visits to factories to deepen relationships with factory management, speak with workers and gain a better understanding of the complexities and nuances of our supply chain.

A fundamental right of workers is access to a remedy in the form of effective grievance channels. While many of our factories have established worker dialogue and grievance channels such as worker committees, local unions or hotlines, we've made a commitment to ensure that these existing mechanisms are effective in addressing workers’ concerns and supporting factories to improve where necessary. 

Additionally, we’re working to provide all workers in our Tier 1 factories access to an additional third-party grievance mechanism in their native language, which they can use should the in-factory mechanism not provide a desired or appropriate outcome or response. We’ve already seen evidence of this working in practice through the implementation and ongoing collaborative management of a third-party grievance mechanism operated by a locally-based civil society organisation in one of our Bangladesh-based factories. This hotline provides an additional feedback channel to over 1,400 workers and has been utilised by workers to address a range of concerns including wage-related issues, factory conditions and factory management behavioural issues. 

In 2023, we commenced the roll out of a Group-managed third-party hotline, which has now been implemented at 27 of our factories. This program seeks to gain further visibility of the issues that are facing workers in our factories and enable us to collaborate with factory management to understand worker perspectives, identify gaps and respond more effectively to concerns raised.

To ensure the expectations outlined in our Supplier Code of Conduct continue to be understood by suppliers and workers, we have hosted supplier and factory conferences and training sessions since 2018. These sessions take place both in-person and digitally, and focus on topics such as intractable issues that are identified during audits and factory visits including health and safety, working hours, modern slavery risks, subcontracting management and other sustainability topics such as packaging, preferred materials and responsible chemicals management.

Committed to improving our responsible purchasing practices recognising that our buying behaviours have a direct impact on the conditions and experiences of people in our supply chains. We also recognise that ensuring decent working conditions throughout our entire supply chain requires visibility, which is enabled through traceability and depend through supply chain relationships including those with our third-party brands.  

We are working with our Own Brand suppliers to increase the visibility and traceability of the supply chains in which our Own Brand products are made, gaining 100% visibility of our first tier manufacturing locations in 2018, and second tier manufacturing facilities in 2022. 

As our fair and ethical sourcing program matures, so does the need for our sourcing model to reflect the initiatives and commitments made.  

This is why in 2022, a strategic sourcing project was undertaken to redefine our Own Brand supply chain and assess the partnerships we have with suppliers. This assessment ensures that we continue to grow with suppliers and factories who are aligned with our values and commitments, including lowering the carbon footprint of product manufacturing, accelerating the uptake of preferred materials and ensuring decent working conditions, while also meeting the commercial needs of our business.

An important element of our supplier partnerships is the need to ensure we play an equal role in enabling suppliers to meet our expectations through our purchasing practices. Our Responsible Purchasing Policy outlines our minimum commitments related to buying behaviours and acting with integrity in our dealings with suppliers. We are increasing focus in this area and in 2023, we will see the principles of our existing policy further developed into responsible purchasing practices with corresponding metrics to enable us to monitor our buying behaviours in a tangible way. This will help us drive continuous improvement across our own business and further recognise our contribution to the ability of our suppliers to ensure decent working conditions for workers.

By implementing positive changes within our own business, we seek to influence positive changes amongst the brands we work with and champion those who are already leading in this space. 

We are committed to working collaboratively with our third-party brands to support their own sustainability journey and to ensure we are working with brands whose values align with our own. While we take responsibility for the role we can play to provide capacity-building opportunities and raise awareness of sustainability issues, ultimately we place responsibility with our brand partners to ensure they have the policies and procedures in place to manage their own impacts. 

Therefore, in addition to all brand partner agreements including reference to our Supplier Code of Conduct and the minimum standards it sets, we have developed a Group-led Brand Human Rights Standards and assessment process. Through this process we have identified an opportunity to facilitate human rights related training to our brand partners. This program will commence rollout in 2023.

Read our Supplier Code of Conduct

Who Made My Clothes?

Our desire to gain visibility and traceability of where and how products are made has made us acutely aware of the disconnect our customers face when trying to understand who makes the clothes they purchase. We don’t know much about their lives, how they got to where they are or where they want to go.

Who Made My Clothes?Who Made My Clothes?

Our #whomademyclothes short film, released for Fashion Revolution Week in 2019, shares with you the stories of just a small sample of the people involved in manufacturing our Own Brand labels. Our aim for this film was to try and reconnect customers with the clothes they wear through these human stories, and we think it’s still an important reminder today.

The three factories you see in the film are located in the Guangzhou and Dongguan areas of Southern China, which is where the majority of our production takes place. You can find a list of the locations of all factories we use and information about the work we are doing with them here (> Our Factory Audit Program).

Thank you to Xheng Fu Ting, Chen Chun, Hu Yin, Xiang Dong Yuan, Zgy Su Lan, Liu Hai Ying, Yang Hai Xiong, Li Ping and Bao Shan Cheng for sharing their stories with us.

Animal Welfare

THE ICONIC’s Animal Welfare Policy outlines our expectations as to how and where animal materials are used in our products, and is applicable to both our Own Brands and our third-party brand partners.

We expect our suppliers to implement industry-recognised practices to ensure animal welfare is safeguarded during rearing, transportation and slaughter.

We also expect that Suppliers work towards aligning with the industry-recognised Five Domains Model, the Five Provisions and Aligned Animal Welfare Aims on a number of factors including:

  1. Nutrition — factors that involve the animal’s access to sufficient, balanced, varied, and clean food and water.
  2. Environment — factors that enable comfort through temperature, substrate, space, air, odour, noise, and predictability.
  3. Health — factors that enable good health through the absence of disease, injury, impairment with a good fitness level.
  4. Behaviour — factors that provide varied, novel, and engaging environmental challenges through sensory inputs, exploration, foraging, bonding, playing, retreating, and others.
  5. Mental state — the mental state of the animal should benefit from predominantly positive states, such as pleasure, comfort, or vitality while reducing negative states such as fear, frustration, hunger, pain, or boredom.
Animal WelfareAnimal Welfare

Additionally, THE ICONIC requires any animal materials used in our Own Brand styles or partner brands’ styles to strictly be a by-product of the food industry. THE ICONIC does not purchase, nor sell items that use real animal fur of any kind including exotic skins or hair from the angora rabbit and prohibits processes including: unnatural abortions, live skinning, live plucking, mulesing, confinement of animals in veal or sow crates and animal testing on cosmetics, except where required by law.

Read our Animal Welfare Policy.

Identifying and mitigating the risks of modern slavery in our operations is fundamental to our business. THE ICONIC rejects any form of modern slavery or exploitation where a person cannot refuse, or leave, work because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception. This crime and exercise of power or ownership over another in modern economic circumstances occurs in every region of the world. The 2023 Global Slavery Index estimated that in 2021 over 50 million people globally were living in modern slavery globally with an estimated 29.3 million in the Asia Pacific region alone. It also estimates that on any given day, there were 41,000 individuals living in situations of modern slavery in Australia.

Our dedicated annual enterprise modern slavery risk assessments and action plans, which we report on annually, help maintain our zero tolerance approach to any form of modern slavery, including forced, bonded or child labour.

Read our 2021 Modern Slavery Statement

Read our 2022 Modern Slavery Statement

We expect all employees, suppliers and stakeholders to actively support the work involved to eradicate modern slavery and, where relevant, ensure they meet their modern slavery reporting requirements. Since 2019, THE ICONIC has had in place a continuous and rigorous end-to-end process of managing modern slavery risks in the context of our business, including the performing of enterprise-wide risk assessments of our business operations and supply chain. This analysis of the intersections between known risks, current controls, and opportunities identified, ensures that THE ICONIC is operating to effectively combat any risk of modern slavery and other human rights abuses in our business operations and supply chain.

Should THE ICONIC ever identify incidences of slavery, servitude, forced or child labour, debt bondage, deceptive recruiting or any other human rights abuse in our operations or supply chain, an immediate remediation response would commence as per our Child and Forced Labour Remediation Guidelines. 

This would focus first and foremost on ensuring the person or people involved were safely removed from the situation. They would then be provided with the necessary support by appropriate local organisations to help implement a remediation plan designed to achieve positive outcomes for the persons or people concerned. We also reserve the right to immediately terminate the relationship with the factory or vendor if they do not comply with the remediation plan in place and would work with local authorities to help ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.

Explore our other sustainability pillars

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Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging

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Responsible Workplace

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Circularity & Conscious Consumption

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Climate Action

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