Rat & Boa is an international, boutique women’s fashion label which has its registered office in London. We design, manufacture and sell high-quality women’s fashion garments. Since launching in 2015, Rat & Boa has developed a strong brand identity producing and selling globally.
We work in partnership with our suppliers to comply with the standards expected. We work with them to responsively discuss their opportunities, needs, ideas and company development plans. We as a brand are only as strong as our supply chain, therefore working with them as partners is the only way, we believe, to operate.
We hold ourselves and our suppliers to the highest standards of ethics and environmental management.
Written - February 2022
Last Updated- January 2023
Last Updated - April 2023
CODE OF CONDUCT
As a trusted supplier and partner to Rat & Boa (R&B) you and your employees are part of our team. The responsibility that we as a company take for the well-being of our employees extends to those who work for R&B at any stage of the supply chain. The sharing of any needs, worries or ideas you have as a company or individual is highly encouraged.
This Code of Conduct (COC) is a transparent document that shares our commitment to supporting the positive development of our business relationships with our suppliers. We expect the highest standards of ethical, environmental, and governance practices to be upheld by the businesses we operate with.
WHO DOES THIS INCLUDE?
This COC applies to all our suppliers, their employees, parent, subsidiary or affiliate entities, and subcontractors. We expect suppliers to ensure that this COC is accurately communicated to the stakeholders and that it is done in the local language where required. To do business with R&B, we require all suppliers to read this COC and acknowledge it in writing.
We encourage open and prompt conversation of any concerns you may have about the expectations outlined in this COC. If there is an area you are not confident your business is sustaining, we welcome the opportunity to work with you on making this achievable. We believe that being honest
We work with third party consultants to map out and review our supply chain. We give full access so we can ensure our supply chain is independently reviewed. All consultants are bound by confidentiality and have direct communication with our suppliers.
We internally plan our production before it is placed to ensure the route selected has the lowest impact. We use Higg index datasets to estimate the carbon footprint for all fabrics and processes selected for each production.
This document outlines the minimum level of standards expected by R&B, but we expect you as a supply chain partner to strive to exceed these standards, to continuously improve and to aim for best sustainable development on an international level.
GOVERNMENT AND ETHICS
We expect all our suppliers to illustrate international best practice in terms of their governance and ethics. This includes, but is not limited to, adhering to all relevant local and national laws.
At R&B we follow the below and we expect our suppliers to adhere to these standards;
Environmental and social standards
If any of these standards or audits cannot be followed, please let us know before sampling begins.
We expect all our suppliers to provide tracked certifications for all fabrics, trims, and dyes. We will verify all certifications received.
As an example, if the dress is made from organic cotton, we will require a proof of purchase certification along with GOTS approval. We will then verify this with GOTS.
R&B has a strict zero-tolerance policy for accepting bribery or engaging in corrupt business practices. Bribes can involve anything of value including money, employment or gifts. Accepting bribes for the express purpose of influencing an outcome will not be tolerated.
MANAGEMENT, MONITORING, AND EVALUATION
It is the expectation of R&B that our suppliers establish and maintain appropriate management systems related to the content of this COC and that they actively review, monitor and modify their management processes and business operations to ensure they continuously adhere to it.
We expect R&B to be given full access to a supplier’s facilities on request, and that all documentation provided is true and accurate.
COMPANY TRANSPARENCY AND TRACEABILITY
R&B reserves the right to request information such as the country of origin, identity and location of the sources of components and raw materials. We require full compliance and cooperation from all our suppliers in providing this information. We will also ask for information such as water usage, energy provider and dye information. This information is to help us track our CO2 impact. Any information which is protected by copyright law is protected by an NDA.
RAW MATERIAL SOURCING
As part of our sustainability strategy, we are continuing to increase sourcing of cellulose fibre. In the past we have sourced generic viscose, however we will now only accept verified cellulose fibres such as Lenzing or FSC Viscose and Vegan Cupro. All suppliers need to show proof of source before production is placed. All certifications will be checked with the certifying body.
Please read the Responsible Sourcing policy.
As a company rule, we will never use virgin polyester. We will accept recycled polyester from pre and post-consumer waste sourced from fabric cuttings or PET pellets, carrying the GRS recycling standard verification. We will expect to receive a GRS proof of purchase stating the fabric ordered and its composition. This needs to be received and approved before any fabric is cut.
Our products are always packed in a planet-friendly option such as compostable garment bags or (worst case) recycled paper/card.
No plastic poly bags are ever to be used. We are a single-use plastic free company. Please only send in paper or compostable bags.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
All suppliers to R&B are expected to not only comply with local and national environmental regulations but be open to work on community projects. We actively encourage charity and community work in your areas and ask if you can involve us in your work, whether this is financially or as team support. We do not expect you to do this alone and will support you in any way we can.
We expect that any waste from your facility is properly removed, fabric cuttings to be recycled, and water to be treated properly.
CARBON NEUTRAL – BY 2025
As a company, R&B are working towards Carbon Neutral status and this COC will help us achieve this.
We require that no harmful chemicals or hazardous materials are used when making our products and any REACH EU chemicals are provided prior to sample development. We may decide to action an OEKO-TEX test to confirm that no banned EU chemicals/pesticides have been used. Declaration of harmful or hazardous materials must be properly surrendered in accordance with local and international law or commonly used standards.
RESPONSIBLE WATER USAGE
Suppliers must comply with all applicable local laws and regulations relating to the use of water including their management of wastewater. All water must be recycled using a government-approved treatment centre.
MINIMIZE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Suppliers must comply with all local and national applicable air emission laws and take all reasonable steps to minimize and/or offset their GHG Emissions. We welcome any projects that reduce your impact and ask that you involve us.
TRANSIT & DELAYS
If possible, we will transport goods by sea and truck. If this isn’t possible due to timings, please let us know so that we can plan the best routes. We are working with our partners, DHL, to track our CO2 so expect you to work with our account to keep all data correct.
We believe in the principles of the circular economy and are striving to be a fashion business that produces no waste. We expect our suppliers to also strive to produce zero waste and, as part of our development as a brand, we plan for any waste to be reused and not thrown in landfill. As a minimum requirement, we expect the highest recycling standards. We appreciate that recycling capabilities can be heavily influenced by local factors and that these vary greatly from region to region. We will always collaborate with our suppliers to help them work on this area, and strongly require that by any means, landfill is never an option.
We endeavour to invest in our surrounding community whether it be financially, on a volunteer basis, or otherwise. We expect our suppliers to also invest in their local communities and will appreciate the opportunity to work as a partnership on these projects.
COMMITMENT TO A LIVING WAGE
We work closely with our suppliers across the globe to ensure living wages and not minimum wages are paid. We expect you and the rest of your supply chain to work with the International Labour Organisation and the Ethical Trading Initiative as well as your local governments to ensure you are paying correct wages.
We appreciate limited certification is available and living wages change per location/inflation. We appreciate the transparency in understanding how wages are calculated and paid. If at any point the prices we are asking for result in a minimum salary for the workers, we need to have this information before confirming prices. We will not accept prices to the detriment of people in our supply chains. If your current payroll is set for minimum wages and not living, please inform us so we can arrange a solution.
Please note, this is not an exercise to micromanage. We only require that everyone in the supply chain is making a profit and the people making our clothes are happy.
All employees must be voluntarily employed and have complete freedom of movement. No person shall be forced to work against their will.
All persons must be paid a fair and competitive wage, in a timely manner, that allows them to meet their basic needs, have discretionary income, and the ability to save.
Suppliers must not hold possession of workers’ IDs / passports or collect deposits at any time.
All persons employed must be legally eligible to be so including being of legal working age. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate documentation is provided.
All overtime is voluntary and compensated at a rate that fairly reflects the additional undertaking and complies with local labour laws.
All employees have the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining and negotiation and shall not face any negative consequences for doing so.
The privacy of all person’s data and personal information must be respected.
All employees must be provided with opportunities for training and development.
All persons must always be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness. No person shall be discriminated against for any reason.
No person shall be subjected to abuse, intimidation, threat or harassment of any kind.
All workers must be allowed a minimum of one day of no work out of every seven.
Suppliers must provide all employees, agents, and subcontractors with safe and comfortable working conditions, minimise work-related illness or injury, and comply with all local employment law including establishing health and safety policies and procedures.
Workers must be free to and know how to raise complaints about their workplace or housing conditions without retaliation.
Adequate and regular breaks must be provided and working hours must not exceed hours allowed by the law of the country where the workers are employed, or eight hours in the day and forty-eight in the week unless agreed upon by both parties.
Any supplier who provides housing must ensure this is also a safe, comfortable, respectful, and dignifying environment free of discrimination, abuse, intimidation, threat, or harassment of any kind.
If any human rights violations are uncovered, orders will be immediately stopped and a legal investigation will commence. No ill treatment is tolerated.
Suppliers to R&B acknowledge that the contents of this Code will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis and shared with our supplier network. Any revisions conducted outside of the annual renewal will be sent through at the time of the update and will take effect immediately. Transition periods will be negotiated where applicable to establish an agreed time frame.
The minimum requirement we have is an updated SMETA or BSCI report. We understand that some smaller studios and workshops are unable to get SMETA or BSCI approval, so we require full transparency on your company set-up. If any reasonable doubt is raised regarding a supplier’s commitment to upholding this Code, R&B commits to working on an ongoing basis to verify supplier compliance. This may include and is not limited to inspection of the supplier’s workplace (by R&B employees or third-party representatives), and a request for proof of compliance.
In the instance of an ongoing breach of this Code, a supplier’s relationship with R&B may be terminated with immediate effect. If any supplier has been found at a later date to have misled R&B over any terms relating to this Code we will seek to recover costs and related expenses.
Supplier-written acknowledgement of this Code is a requirement for every contract for supply to R&B. The standards of this Code are in addition to, and not in lieu of, provisions of any legal agreement or contract between suppliers and R&B.
As well as holding our suppliers to a minimum level of standards, we will also hold ourselves to a minimum level of purchasing practices ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties. Please see these outlined below;