SUSSAN GROUP COVID-19 WEBSITE STATEMENT – SEPTEMBER 2020
We are all aware that the COVID-19 Pandemic has caused unprecedented upheaval to individuals, families, businesses, communities and governments across the world.
At the Sussan Group, we continue to do our best to ensure our business operates to support our entire team and of course, our customers. Our support extends to our suppliers and factory workers globally as we work through these times together. We know our response to the challenges we face will not be perfect, but our commitment to all who are so important to us is steadfast.
We are of course committed to caring for the health, safety and well-being of our team members and customers and ensuring we are complying with Federal and State based laws and government health guidelines. We have put in place a comprehensive program of precautionary measures in our stores, based on expert advice, to ensure a safe shopping experience for our customers and a safe workplace for our team.
Upon reopening after the temporary closure of our stores, each store received specific training to ensure our teams were fully across revised procedures for social distancing and the other necessary safeguards, including a regime of frequent, strict cleaning, the use of hand sanitiser, and appropriate signage. We also trained our staff in responding to customer questions about these measures.
We have installed perspex screens at our point of sale and are promoting contactless payment with our customers. Each of our stores have been provided with a COVID 19 Risk Management plan to assist with the ongoing management of any issues that may arise.
Team Members based in our offices have been given the option of flexible work, including working from home where possible. When working in the office for essential work, we have implemented staggered work schedules, social distancing, and additional safety and cleaning steps to help protect and support our team members.
For our Victorian workplaces, team members are required to wear face coverings in line with the recent Government Health & Human Services advice. This applies to all of our Victorian stores for both our team members and customers.
Our suppliers are always important to our business and we are mindful of the effects of the pandemic on them and their workers. To us, they are more than our suppliers - we believe they’re our partners, some of whom have been suppliers to the Sussan Group for over 20 years.
It’s important to us that we continue to support our suppliers by managing our existing and future orders to meet demand, while balancing our supply to ensure we do not overstock. We have continued to daily and weekly conversations with our suppliers, working to support our mutual ongoing success. Some discussions and decisions have been difficult for us all, but we continue to be open and transparent with our suppliers as we work through the daily challenges.
We have continued to protect workers’ rights by working with suppliers to ensure our social compliance (factory auditing) program remained in place where it could, or placed on hold where external auditors could not access closed factories. As soon as factories reopened, we restarted our compliance program and the management of corrective actions. We held weekly talks with our suppliers to ensure factory workers wages were paid according to the local government regulations, including during factory closures.
We recognise the power of collaboration and so took the opportunity to have open discussions with other brands on their pathway though these challenges, exchanging our ideas on how others have handled the crisis.
The Sussan Group has been a proud participant in the BWA Australian Fashion Report since 2014. Sourcing our products ethically has and will always be, at the core of what we do and we recognise our participation in the BWA Fashion Report has helped to guide us on the path to ensuring our products are appropriately sourced, in line with our values. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we decided not to participate in the reporting requirements for the 2020 BWA Report. This decision was based solely on our available time during the pandemic. We have not changed what we do and what is important to us. We have used our time to instead focus our attention on our team, suppliers and factory workers to ensure we offer as much support as we can to all those who are so important to us. We look forward to resuming our participation in the report in future.
While it’s sometimes difficult to look beyond the pandemic and the necessary restrictions we are experiencing, we believe the future looks bright for us all. We are confident we will come through these days in a stronger position and with a strengthened business and consolidated supply chain that supports our business now and into the future.
We sincerely thank everyone in the extended Sussan Group family for your support and we will continue to work to earn it in the times ahead.
SUZANNE GRAE - ETHICAL SOURCING AUDIT POLICY AND PROCEDURE AGREEMENT:
At the Sussan Group, we take our responsibility to ensure that the goods we sell are manufactured ethically, seriously. We seek to work with suppliers and manufacturers who share our vision including to ensure workers in our end to end supply chain are respected.
As a means of addressing this challenge, the Sussan Group requests each supplier manufacturing goods for the Sussan Group to respect, understand and adhere to our Ethical Code of Conduct for manufacturers. We also require our Supplier partners to ensure the expectations of this Ethical Code of Conduct have been communicated and adhered to across all stages of production within the supply chain, including raw materials suppliers.
Our Ethical Code of Conduct contains a number of non-negotiable expectations and additional requirements that all those involved in the manufacture of our products must adhere to including:
- Employee’s Right - Employment must not be forced and all forms of indentured (including prison labour), bonded, involuntary, compulsory or uncompensated labour are prohibited.
- Child Labour - We align our expectations for the elimination of Child Labour to the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Conventions and require that no worker shall be employed at an age younger than 16 or the age as determined by local legislation, whichever is higher.
- Treatment in the work place - Physical abuse including any form of verbal, sexual or psychological harassment, harsh or inhumane treatment of workers by Suppliers or their representatives is strictly prohibited.
Suppliers must also commit to the following expectations of the Sussan Group Ethical Code of Conduct:
* Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected: All workers must have the right to collectively bargain including union membership or have access to a Workers Representative Group within their place of employment.
* Working conditions are safe and hygienic: All factories used for the Sussan Group must meet local and national safety laws and standards.
* Wages/Benefits: We expect that workers will receive all legal wages and benefits required by law or contract.
* Working hours are not excessive: Suppliers must ensure workers working hours align to local labour law requirements and overtime is voluntary and within the legal limit as prescribed by local labour law.
* No discrimination is practised: Workers must not suffer any form of harassment or discrimination in their employment on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, social group or ethnic origin.
* Regular employment is provided: We expect workers will be given a regular income that allows workers to provide support and security to their family.
* Environment: Suppliers must ensure they adhere to all legal requirements for the management of any waste generated or any hazardous chemicals used in the manufacturing of our products and that they adhere to the expectations of the Sussan Group Restricted Substances and Process List at all times.
* Animal Protection: Our finished goods are not tested on animals and any animal product used in our products is sourced as a by-product of other industries.