I’m well aware that what I’m about to say may cause some serious eye-rolling, but for us here at RUBY, it’s the honest truth.
Let me explain. Our RUBY family tree consists of many different branches. Everybody connected to RUBY is considered an extension of the clan.
In order to look after all of our people to the best of our ability, we’ve created an ethical policy. This policy includes our promise to manufacture all products under fair and safe working conditions and to be open and honest with all our communication. We also promise to never stop trying to do better; it’s my job to implement and monitor this. This journey is a process, there’s no end date or final bow and the work is never done.
To further explain this, I’ve included some background on the RUBY production process:
Our sampling process is all done in-house. Our Pattern Maker hand makes all of our patterns, our Workroom Manager hand cuts all of our samples; we even have a couple of sewing machines and overlockers to add any finishing touches.
We manufacture approximately 60% of our product in New Zealand and 40% in China. Our trusty Toyata Hiace and our Workroom team personally visit our New Zealand-based factories weekly. As the van doesn’t have water wings, we send a RUBY team member to China on a regular basis to check everything is up to standard.
All of our suppliers are subject to an Ethical and Social Audit inspection to ensure they meet our requirements. Our China-based factories have all undergone an independent social compliance audit through Qualspec, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) or TUEV Rheinland. This ensures our auditing process is as transparent and effective as possible.
We’re serious about these issues. We want to address any problems that we encounter and fix them so everyone can enjoy a happy work environment like we do, every day. Physically looking after this environment is something that is very important to us, too. Our waste management system ensures that we minimise our wastage and recycle in the most effective way possible, whether it’s through donating left-over fabric to charity, giving our old coffee grinds to hungry plants or using unwanted printing for to-do lists.
Please keep checking in for any updates on the circle of life that is our ethical policy, and keep an eye out for our soon to be released environmental and sustainability policy. Also, find us on Conscious Consumers and join us in shopping more thoughtfully.
If you have any questions or want a copy of our ethical policy, please contact me at email@example.com.
RUBY General Manager
CARBON NEUTRAL – 2025
As part of our pledge to more ethical and sustainable production, we at RUBY we are committed to being Carbon Neutral by the end of 2025.
Carbon Neutrality means that we measure and then offset 100% of the CO2 emissions that we produce in the making of textiles & clothing as well as in our retail stores and the running of head office and support operations. The first step for us is a project that accurately measures our current emissions, scopes out the work that needs to be done to get us Carbon Neutral between now and 2025 and then breaks it down in to 12 month stages. Watch this space for how we are progressing!
At RUBY we are committed to ensuring the people who make our clothes, fabrics and source our raw materials are – at a minimum – paid the minimum wage for the country they live and work in. However as part of our commitment to more ethical and sustainable production practises, we are committed to seeing their wages grow to meet the Living Wage level by the end of 2022.
What is the Living Wage?
According to Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand, the Living Wage is: …the hourly wage a worker needs to pay for the necessities of life and participate as an active citizen in the community. It reflects the basic expenses of workers and their families such as food, transportation, housing and childcare.
In 2018 we undertook research to calculate the Living Wage level both in the countries we sew our garments (New Zealand and China) and source our fabrics (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam). For New Zealand Living Wage calculations and information, take a look at Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand’s website. And for Living Wage calculations and information for China, Japan and Korea, we have followed the Global Living Wage Coalition’s approach of using the Anker methodology. Take a look at their website for more information.
What are we doing to work towards a Living Wage?
At RUBY, we do not own our garment and textile factories, instead we work with different suppliers to source and produce our fabric and to manufacture our clothing. Because our suppliers also work with many other companies, our ability to lift the wages of their employees on our own is limited. However, we share suppliers with many other New Zealand fashion brands and so we recognise that to get sustainable increases in wages for the people who make our fabric and clothing we need to work together as an industry.
2019 will see the launch of a collective of New Zealand fashion companies, with one of the goals being to improve worker wages. We see that by working together, we can more effectively put pressure on suppliers to increase their employee’s wages to be the Living Wage as well as on governments to increase minimum wage to be the Living Wage.
As an individual company however we can take measures to track wage progress. In 2019, when negotiating purchase prices with our suppliers, we will require that wages be an itemised cost so that we can ensure wages are increasing.