We attach real importance to the welfare of our employees, and those employed by our suppliers. While most of the design and development of our products takes place within the Clarks business, we outsource all of the manufacturing. We believe it's our responsibility to understand the welfare and working conditions of those who make our products and we do this by auditing our supplier factories.

The information gathered through our audits informs our buying decisions and helps us to ensure the high standards we expect in our products are reflected in the working environments in which they're made.

Our Supplier Audit Programme

Our audit programme currently covers factories producing the majority of Clarks footwear in locations around the world and includes assessment of social, labour and health & safety standards. The majority of our footwear is produced in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and India.

Audits are undertaken against Clarks Code of Practice, which sets the standards that we expect of suppliers manufacturing Clarks products. The Code of Practice requires compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements, and supports the core principles of the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

The working condition standards defined in the Code of Practice cover the areas of:
   •   Management cooperation
   •   Child labour
   •   Employment conditions
   •   Fair treatment
   •   Forced labour
   •   Freedom of association
   •   Wages
   •   Working hours
   •   Health & safety
   •   Environment
   •   Sub-contracting and home working
   •   Ethical business

All suppliers are required to sign a copy of our Code of Practice to acknowledge that they have read and understood it. Compliance with the Code of Practice forms part of the trading terms and conditions for products purchased.

Managing non-compliance

We believe that long term relationships with suppliers are the most beneficial – both for us and for the people who make our products. We are committed to working with suppliers to identify and make improvements to working conditions.

In instances of non-compliance with our Code of Practice, we work with the factory to develop a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), identifying the root cause and outlining the steps to be taken to remedy the issue identified. Progress against the CAP is then assessed during follow up visits to the factory. Where there is continual non-compliance and no evidence or willingness to adhere to a corrective action plan, termination of the relationship remains the final sanction.

Supplier Support and Development

Beyond our audit programme, we aim to support suppliers and factories in making improvements to working conditions. This encompasses informal and formal training inputs undertaken with individual factories and across all suppliers. This includes training workshops on various aspects of Health & Safety attended by factory representatives in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and India.

For further information on our audit programme, or any other aspect of our Behaving Responsibly activities, please contact csr@clarks.com