Code of Ethics and Conduct
Our Code of Ethics and Conduct outlines ColieCo’s values and ethical principles, and sets standards which all of those working for and on behalf of ColieCo will follow. It includes sections defining our values, principles and responsibilities, and our standards for third parties acting in partnership with and supplying ColieCo.
The Code is also used to guide our Programme of Continuous Improvement and in the assessment and ongoing reassessment of the suitability of third party partners and suppliers.
Our Mission and Core Values
The values, principles and standards described in the Code serve to support the ColieCo mission, and all align with our three enduring core values:
Respect for people
This means that from garment design through production to delivery, we're focused on ensuring that our processes cause no harm to people - workers, customers, other stakeholders and societal groups - and have a positive impact on the communities they touch.
Respect for the planet
This means that we put the environment at the heart of everything we do, from the design of our made-to-order, minimum waste business model, through fabric sourcing, down to the smallest details in our processes.
Respect for quality
This means that we don't settle for second best in anything we do. In garment design and construction, in our sourcing, in our customer services we're determined to deliver best-in-class quality.
Learn more about exactly what each of our core values means to us here.
This section of the Code defines ColieCo’s principles and responsibilities in relation to corporate, labour, environmental and social issues. These are the standards we commit to upholding when we make business decisions and we commit to reflect in our behaviour.
Business decisions made at all levels across an organisation have wider impacts on society and the environment. This means that decisions should be made in conscious consideration of downstream consequences for the business-external environment.
As such, all business decisionmaking across our business functions will reflect an awareness of corporate responsibility. This will apply equally in business strategy, policymaking, process development, supplier engagement, procurement and purchasing, marketing, advertising and sales, and customer contact.
Business activities throughout and across our end-to-end processes will be subject to a programme of continuous improvement with the aim of continually strengthening adherence to ColieCo’s stated values, principles and responsibilities.
Read our latest annual report on our continuous improvement programme here.
ColieCo will respect and comply in full with all Portuguese and EU laws and regulations relating to workers’ rights and working conditions.
All ColieCo workers will work in healthy, safe, comfortable and hygienic conditions, meeting in full, as a minimum standard, Portuguese and EU laws and regulations on working conditions.
All ColieCo workers will be paid a full and fair living wage, and will be recognised as being entitled to all rights and protections made in Portuguese and EU law covering (amongst other issues and circumstances) regular working hours, voluntary overtime, paid holiday, illness and inability to work, pregnancy and termination. A living wage means sufficient remuneration to afford a decent standard of living, including food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport, clothing and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.
ColieCo will not exploit the labour of unpaid interns. Interns will benefit from the same rights and conditions as all other ColieCo workers.
ColieCo workers will be actively protected from any form of discrimination or harassment, including verbal and non-verbal discrimination or harassment based on age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, country of origin, ethnic origin, race, religion, disability or illness.
ColieCo will operate a zero tolerance approach to matters of discrimination and harassment, whether internal or external in origin.
Business decisions made at all levels across an organisation have impacts on the environment, and business decisionmaking at all levels will consider full life-cycle environmental impacts.
Decisions will consider the environmental impacts of materials consumed, methods of extraction and production (across all stages of the supply chain), transport (across all stages of the supply chain), use footprint, and end of life. Alternative options, third party certifications and suppliers’ environmental credentials will all be assessed.
ColieCo will only procure supplies meeting certifiably high environmental standards. The widest possible set of options will be considered when undertaking the procurement of all product components (including fabrics, elastics, threads and hardware), packaging materials, and office and studio supplies.
Procurement decisionmaking will consider:
- Full life cycle (extraction, production/processing, use, end of life)
- carbon footprint
- energy use
- water use
- hazardous chemical use and water, air and land pollution; and
- by-products and waste
- Durability, reparability, lifespan, reusability and recyclability
- Recognised third-party environmental certifications.
Decisions will be based on holistic assessments of options against these criteria, but exclude any materials which are manufactured under processes using hazardous chemicals prohibited under the EU's REACH regime.
ColieCo will only procure fabrics meeting our Pledge on Sustainable Fabrics, meaning that each and every fabric used to create each and every ColieCo product will meet one of the three following criteria:
- The fabric is made from an inherently sustainable and sustainably processed natural fibre
- The fabric is made primarily from recycled materials
- The fabric is reclaimed from fashion industry deadstock, line-ends or off-cuts otherwise destined for landfill.
Learn more about each and every one of the fabrics we're currently using here.
ColieCo will prioritise suppliers with recognised third-party environmental certifications (particularly ISO 14000 series and OEKO-TEX STeP/Made in Green certifications) and demonstrable commitments to green practices, including sustainable production methods, waste planning and minimisation, the use of renewable energy, and transparency in their processes and business activities.
The environmental credentials and standards of parent companies and partners will also be considered.
ColieCo will prioritise local suppliers and seek to minimise the transport footprints of all supplies.
Production and waste minimisation
Recognising that overproduction is one of the apparel industry’s most critical environmental failures, ColieCo will only produce garments to order, in order to preclude unsold surplus stock.
Fabric waste will be minimised at all stages of production, from procurement to garment end-of-life. Fabric management will include:
- Purchasing controlled volumes of stock and the full use of fabric runs (i.e. no creation of line-ends)
- Intelligent garment design and fabric cutting to minimise offcuts, and the retention and use of offcuts
- Active pre-order engagement with customers to minimise returns
- Quality production, sales and post-sales services to maximise garment lifespans and ensure appropriate end-of-life care
- Recycling of unusuable offcuts.
Packaging, shipping and office consumables
ColieCo will minimize packaging; avoid the use of plastic; and use only reusable, recycled-and-recyclable, and compostable packaging materials.
Packaging materials will be assessed based on the procurement criteria listed above, and decisions will be made based on holistic assessments of options against those criteria.
ColieCo will only offer order shipping options with minimal carbon footprints. This will preclude, for example, the option of next day/expedited delivery courier services.
Office supplies will use high recycled content paper using pulp from FSC-certified sources, and minimise the use of plastic. All unavoidable paper, card, plastic and glass waste will be recycled.
Operational energy use
All ColieCo activities, including garment production, order packing and dispatch, and office activities will remain powered by 100% renewable energy sources.
Beyond the responsibility to minimise their environmental footprints, all organisations have a further duty to ameliorate the environmental impacts of their business activities. As such, ColieCo will work with third party certified partners to contribute to climate positive action in order to offset the carbon footprint of our activities.
Decisions relating to the partners and suppliers that businesses choose to work with and the supplies that they source have wider social impacts, and business decisionmaking at all levels will consider full life-cycle social impacts.
Business decisions will consider the social impacts of materials consumed, methods of production, working standards and conditions across the supply chain, use footprint, product development, brand development, marketing, advertising and sales.
ColieCo will only procure supplies having considered the social impacts of their production, from the extraction of raw materials through each stage of processing.
Procurement decisionmaking will consider the social implications of:
- The creation/extraction of raw materials, including social impacts on workers, local communities and wider societies
- Each stage in the production of materials and components, including the health, safety and working conditions of workers, and social impacts on local communities.
ColieCo will prioritise suppliers which demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility through a transparency in their production processes, their assessment of and reporting on their own social impacts, and their certification by recognised third-party assessors.
The social values, commitments and reporting of suppliers’ parent companies and partners will also be considered.
To help guarantee the highest possible standards in the health, safety, rights and working conditions of workers across the supply chain, ColieCo will prioritise fabric suppliers manufacturing in Europe and subject to EU or UK directives on the fair treatment of workers and working conditions.
Where ColieCo considers working with fabric suppliers manufacturing outside Europe, those suppliers should meet or exceed the SA8000 Standard for social certification, and be able to demonstrate relevant certifications and proof of annual third party audits relating to labour standards. (See also Section Two of the Code.)
Where ColieCo considers entering into any formal or informal partnership with any professional service provider (whether a print shop, modelling agency, media agency, brand representative or other individual or organisation), the potential partner’s social values and impact will be considered. Brand partners should share similar social values to ColieCo.
As with suppliers, partners will be regularly reassessed to ensure their alignment with ColieCo’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and brand values.
Diversity and inclusion
ColieCo is committed to maintaining an organisational culture and identity promoting diversity and inclusion, both inwardly and outwardly. We embrace and celebrate diversity across sexual orientations, genders, race, ethnicity, religions, age and physical ability, and expect workers and partners to share this vision.
ColieCo will actively work to foster an environment in which all workers, stakeholders and customers can feel respected and valued, regardless of their backgrounds or characteristics.
Recognising the existence of intersectional wealth and opportunity gaps, we will work to prioritise support for minority and marginalised group-owned and run organisations, both in procurement and when forming other formal and informal partnerships.
ColieCo will endeavour to ensure that our collection is accessible to the widest possible cross-section of the community, and will actively work to support and assist customers who have experienced difficulties finding well-fitting and comfortable apparel elsewhere.
This section of the Code sets out the standards we expect third parties supplying or working on behalf of ColieCo to meet. It covers responsibilities to workers; environmental responsibilities; and corporate, social and community responsibilities.
When considering potential partner organisations, ColieCo will evaluate their overall approach to employee welfare, environmental responsibility, and corporate and social responsibility to ensure that our partners' values closely align with our own. Partners will be reassessed on a continuous basis.
We expect all of our partners to aim to meet the same standards that we set for ourselves.
We require that our suppliers - including all of our virgin and recycled fabric manufacturers and our elastics manufacturers - meet or exceed the labour standards set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code or attain certification against Social Accountability International’s SA8000 Standard.
The ETI Base Code, which can be found in full here, sets globally-recognised labour standards addressing:
- Freedom of choice (no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour)
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- Safety and hygiene in working environments
- Prohibition of child labour
- Payment of living wages
- Maximum working hours
- Protection from discrimination
- Regular employment
- Prohibition of harsh or inhumane treatment
A living wage means sufficient remuneration to afford a decent standard of living, including food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport, clothing and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.
Suppliers should be able to demonstrate up-to-date certification issued by a recognised auditor confirming compliance with the nine principles of the ETI Base Code or the SA8000 Standard.
Details of the SA8000 Standard can be found here.
We also require that suppliers and partners comply fully with all labour laws in the country/countries in which they operate.
ColieCo requires that suppliers are able to demonstrate that they:
- Have adopted measures to mitigate and minimise the negative impacts of their end-to-end operations on the environment
- Perform ongoing assessments of the impacts of their end-to-end operations on the environment
- Have in place a plan of action (and ideally a programme of continuous improvement) to further reduce the impacts of their operations
- Commit to transparency in the assessment of the impacts of their operations and their efforts to mitigate these impacts.
We expect suppliers to assess and address the carbon footprints, waste/by-products, use of water, use of energy, and air, land and water pollution associated with their end-to-end processes.
We also expect suppliers to be working towards and ideally to have sought certification against an internationally recognised standard of excellence in sustainable production (ideally ISO14000 series or OEKO-TEX STeP certification).
ColieCo requires that our suppliers and partners comply fully with all applicable environmental laws in the country/countries in which they operate.
We require that suppliers and partners carry out business operations in an honest and transparent manner, and that they comply fully with all local and international corporate, taxation, anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and regulations.
We expect suppliers and partners to demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility, inwardly and outwardly.
Suppliers should demonstrate transparency in their production processes, and suppliers and partners should ideally assess and report on the social impacts of their operations.
We expect suppliers and partners to publish statements on their social values and responsibilities, to demonstrate commitments to diversity and inclusion, and to share ColieCo’s zero tolerance approach to discrimination, both internally and in interactions with external stakeholders.
This version (2.1) of the ColieCo Code of Ethics and Conduct was published on 2 October 2023.