Sustainability and Social Accountability


Richards Radcliffe was founded on a base of social accountability and ever forward moves to sustainable, enviromentally concious product. We didn’t do it for the buzz or the press statement but as a natural, quiet commitment from founders Tess and Kat to our customers, the people we work with and indeed the World we live in. We made a pact that we would only work with decent people on our brand building journey. Decent in nature and decent in practice. We always have more work to do but we would love to introduce you to some of our Sustainable and Social Accountability practices for Richards Radcliffe. We create luxury to live your life in. Let’s make it a good life all round.

All the brand’s woven factories are SA 8000 approved or WRAP certified.

SA 8000 is known as the certification of social accountability. It is an international certification standard that encourages organisations to develop, maintain and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace. Details of SA 8000 are listed below.
WRAP is the world's largest independent certification program mainly focused on the apparel, footwear, and sewn products sectors. They take a collaborative approach to social compliance certification. WRAP certification follows 12 key criteria, further detail of which are listed below:
1. Compliance with Laws and Workplace Regulations 
2. Prohibition of Forced Labor
3. Prohibition of Child Labor   
4. Prohibition of Harassment or Abuse
5. Compensation and Benefits   
6. Hours of Work
7. Prohibition of Discrimination   
8. Health and Safety
9. Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining 
10. Environment
11. Customs Compliance   
12. Security

We use noble fibres such a silk and cotton which are natural and recyclable. It is our intention to work ever harder on using organic, sustainable versions of these fabrics over the coming seasons.
Our beading and cutwork is created by skilled, respected staff. Tess has visited the factories in person over the years, seen the looms and the beautiful hand craftmanship taking place. These are not pieces created en masse, without love of the process nor the product; infact our work is the total opposite.

All our Leather is made at a fully ICS audited factory. All leather nappa used is a by-product of the meat Industry meaning nappa is not wasted and no animal is killed for its skin. All waste discharge from tanning and dying goes to a common affluent treatment plant that is shared by a cluster of tanneries to ensure none of them are polluting the environment when dying our leather.
Socially the factory prides itself on completing extensive checks and ensuring the following: They pay staff overtime at 200% and allow all employees 16 days sick leave per annum. The factory building has an approved building stability structure with marked emergency numbers, accident record accounts and approved emergency exits to ensure it’s a safe enviroment for all staff. Smoke alarms are checked every month at a minimum. All stitching machines have pulley covers to ensure safety for all and any member of staff working on spray work are given appropriate PPE.

All our Jacket linings are made of Viscose which is a natural product and originates from wood pulp, so therefore breathable, where as any polyester product is man-made. All our woven labels and swing tags from 2017 onwards are made of recycled materials. Our zip manufacturer controls every step in manufacturing, we ensure that they are able to consistently manufacture the highest quality zippers in the world whilst also being ISO 9001:2008, SA8000, ISO14001 and Oeko-Tex Certified. It is our aim that over coming seasons we can move to IDEAL Earth™ which are a line of sustainable zippers for today's eco-conscious manufacturers.

All our other metalwork is made in accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (conforming in accordance to ISO 17050-1 & fulfilling the requirements of Annex XVII of REACH) Japan certification No. N-KEN 12144, China No. HKX 21274. The metalwork factories also conform to the environmental standard SR EN ISO 14001:2005. Our plated finishes conform to: EN12471, EN1811 (Nickel release). Our painted finishes conform to: BS EN71-3 : 1995 BS 5665 PART 3 : 1995, EN71-3 : 1994 (Migratable lead levels). In addition to these standards we test accelerated ageing, humidity, tarnishing when we know the products to be applied to leather.
Additionally all the packaging used by our metalwork factory is biodegradable and any waste material after pressing or casting of our products is fully recyclable as are any rejected components. The electroplating process itself is 95% fully automated minimising waste and all plating baths are cleansed in such a way that what waste there is can be safely disposed of. In other words no chemicals are released into the environment.

 Beautiful clothing is the only legacy we want to leave.

* Further detail as taken from the SA 8000 and WRAP official websites June 2017.

SA 8000 IS KNOWN AS THE CERTIFICATE OF SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY. It is an international certification standard that encourages organisations to develop, maintain and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace. It was created in 1989 by Social Accountability International (SAI), an affiliate of the Council on Economic Priorities, and is viewed as the most globally accepted independent workplace standard. It can be applied to any company, of any size, worldwide. 

SA 8000 certification addresses issues including forced and child labour, occupational health and safety, freedom of association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, and management systems. 
As well as setting workplace standards worldwide, SA 8000 also embraces existing international agreements, including conventions from the International Labour Organisation, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. 
Adopting SA 8000 certification means an organisation must consider the social impact of their operations in addition to the conditions under which their employees, partners and suppliers operate. It can be applied to any company, of any size, worldwide.

WRAP certification follows 12 key criteria, details of which are listed below:
 1. Compliance with Laws and Workplace Regulations
Facilities will comply with laws and regulations in all locations where they conduct business.
All facilities will comply with the legal requirements and standards of their industry under the local and national laws of the jurisdictions in which the facilities are doing business, along with any applicable international laws. This will cover all labor and employment laws of those jurisdictions, as well as laws governing the conduct of business in general, including rules and standards of ethics dealing with corruption and transparency, and any relevant environmental laws.
 
2. Prohibition of Forced Labor
Facilities will not use involuntary, forced or trafficked labor.
Facilities will maintain employment strictly on a voluntary basis. Facilities will not use any forced, prison, indentured, bonded or trafficked labor. This will include ensuring that any workers they hire will be under labor contracts that fully comply with all relevant legal requirements and do not impose any form of coercion (including imposing substantial fines or loss of residency papers by workers leaving employment or restricting a worker’s ability to voluntarily end his/her employment). In addition, when hiring workers through an employment broker or agency, facilities will ensure that the workers’ passports are not withheld, all written contracts are in the native language of the workers, and recruitment fees are not borne by the workers themselves.
 
 3. Prohibition of Child Labor
Facilities will not hire any employee under the age of 14 or under the minimum age established by law for employment, whichever is greater, or any employee whose employment would interfere with compulsory schooling.
Facilities will ensure they do not engage in any form of child labor, including, but not limited to, the internationally recognized worst forms of child labor. Facilities may not employ any person at an age younger than the law of the jurisdiction allows and in any case not below the age of 14, even if permitted by local law. In addition, facilities will adhere to local legal requirements regarding mandatory schooling. Further, if, where permitted by local law, a facility employs young workers (defined as workers whose age is between the minimum age of employment and 18 years), the facility will also comply with any applicable legal restrictions on the nature and volume of work performed by such young workers, as well as any other requirements imposed by law, including ensuring that such young workers do not perform any hazardous work (e.g., chemicalhandling or operating heavy machinery).

4. Prohibition of Harassment or Abuse
Facilities will provide a work environment free of supervisory or co-worker harassment or abuse, and free of corporal punishment in any form.
Facilities will ensure a workplace that is respectful of a worker’s rights and dignity. This includes ensuring that no corporal punishment or physical coercion be used. Facilities will not engage in or tolerate sexual harassment, indecent or threatening gestures, abusive tone or language or any other kind of undesired physical or verbal contact, such as bullying. In particular, facilities will ensure proper training at all levels - including management, supervisors and workers - to secure a workplace free of harassment or abuse. 
 
5. Compensation and Benefits
Facilities will pay at least the minimum total compensation required by local law, including all mandated wages, allowances & benefits.
Facilities will ensure proper compensation for their employees for all the work done, by providing in a timely manner all the wages and benefits that are in compliance with the local and national laws of the jurisdiction in which they are located. This will include any premiums for overtime work or work done during holidays, as well as any other allowances or benefits, including any mandatory social insurance, required by local law.
 
6. Hours of Work
Hours worked each day, and days worked each week, should not exceed the limitations of the country’s law. Facilities will provide at least one day off in every seven-day period, except as required to meet urgent business needs.
Facilities are required by local law to adhere to any limits set on regular working hours as well as any limits set on overtime work. Long term participation in the WRAP Certification Program is contingent upon meeting the limitations set by local law. WRAP recognizes that this can be a particularly challenging requirement, especially when taking into account local enforcement norms and customs. In light of this reality, WRAP will permit full compliance with local laws on working hours to be achieved incrementally, provided that a given facility meets the following conditions: is fully transparent about its working hours; ensures that those hours are all being worked voluntarily, in conditions that protect worker safety and health; compensates all employees in keeping with WRAP Principle 5; and shows improvement toward meeting the working hours requirements from one audit to the next.

7. Prohibition of Discrimination

Facilities 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.
Facilities will ensure that all terms and conditions of employment are based on an individual’s ability to do the job, and not on the basis of any personal characteristics or beliefs. Facilities will ensure that any employment decision - involving hiring, firing, assigning work, paying or promoting - is made without discriminating against the employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other similar factors (pregnancy, political opinion or affiliation, social status, etc.).

 8. Health and Safety

Facilities will provide a safe and healthy work environment. Where residential housing is provided for workers, facilities will provide safe and healthy housing.
Facilities will provide a safe, clean, healthy and productive workplace for their employees. Facilities shall prioritize worker health and safety above all else, and proactively address any safety issues that could arise. This will include a wide variety of requirements, such as, ensuring, among other things, the availability of clean drinking water (at no charge to workers), adequate medical resources, fire exits and safety equipment, well-lighted and comfortable workstations, clean restrooms. Further, facilities shall adequately train all their workers on how to perform their jobs safely

9. Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Facilities will recognize and respect the right of employees to exercise their lawful rights of free association and collective bargaining.
Facilities will respect the freedom of each employee to choose for him- or her-self whether or not to join a workers’ association. Facilities cannot discriminate against workers based on whether or not they choose to associate. Both the facility and the workers shall ensure they conduct themselves in accordance with all relevant laws in this regard. Facilities will ensure an effective mechanism is in place to address any workplace grievances.
 
10. Environment
Facilities will comply with environmental rules, regulations and standards applicable to their operations, and will observe environmentally conscious practices in all locations where they operate.
Facilities will ensure compliance with all applicable legally mandated environmental standards, and should demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment by actively monitoring their environmental practices. In particular, facilities will ensure proper waste management, including monitoring the disposal of any waste material - whether solid, liquid or gaseous - to ensure such disposal is done safely and in a manner consistent with all relevant laws.

11. Customs Compliance

Facilities will comply with applicable customs laws, and in particular, will establish and maintain programs to comply with customs laws regarding illegal transshipment of finished products.
Facilities will ensure that all merchandise is accurately marked or labeled in compliance with all applicable laws. In addition, facilities will keep records for all materials and orders, as well as maintain detailed production records.
 
12. Security
Facilities will maintain facility security procedures to guard against the introduction of non-manifested cargo into outbound shipments (i.e. drugs, explosives biohazards andor other contraband).
Facilities will ensure adequate controls are in place to safeguard against introduction of any non-manifested cargo. In this regard, WRAP recognizes the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s C-TPAT Guidelines for Foreign Manufacturers as a best practice program, and has adopted those guidelines under this Principle.

Beautiful clothing is the only legacy we want to leave.