Fast fashion retailer Shein, announced intentions to revamp hundreds of factories in its supply chain by investing £12.2 million ($15 million) over the next three to four years.
The investment is a part of Shein's Supplier Community Empowerment Program and will be used to improve the physical facilities of its suppliers (SCEP).
By the end of this year, more than 30 projects will be finished, 100 by the end of 2023, and up to 300 within the next four years.
The SCEP project draws on Shein’s Responsible Sourcing (SRS) strategy, which is meant to guarantee that employees working for its suppliers are treated fairly and with respect in safe and comfortable working environments.
The Shein Code of Conduct, which is in accordance with local laws and regulations as well as the core norms of the International Labor Organization, must be followed by all contracted manufacturing suppliers in order to participate in the SRS program. They must also understand that if they don't correct severe infractions of the Code within a certain amount of time, their contracts may be canceled.
Leading testing and quality control organizations conducted more than 2,600 independent audits in the previous 12 months, but Shein intends to do more and has now agreed to raise its yearly investment in the SRS to £3.25 million ($4 million). That will allow it to do unannounced spot checks more frequently and spend more money educating suppliers how to comply with its Code of Conduct.
Adam Whinston, Global Head of ESG for Shein, said that the SCEP program, which illustrates their commitment to their suppliers and their employees and will considerably improve the working conditions for thousands of garment workers over the next three to four years.
Whinston added that they take very seriously their obligation to protect the welfare of employees at all of their suppliers. They have been carefully working with their contracted partners to improve welfare and working conditions through Shein's Responsible Sourcing program. In order to further enhance supplier management, they are currently planning to quadruple their investment in the SRS program.
Shein has also published important findings of the independent investigations initiated in the wake of claims about working abuses at two garment manufacturers supplying Shein, made in a recent television documentary in the UK.
Drawing on the conclusions of independent audits carried out by specialists at Intertek and TUVR as part of the SRS initiative, Shein claims it “can disprove most of the allegations”. Shein has nevertheless also halved orders from the two producers "until they completely comply with the Code" as well.
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