Fashion is identified as one of the world’s most highly polluting industries.
And we understand that you are rightly asking for more visibility. “Who made my clothes?” and “How were my clothes made?” are questions that reflect the global industry’s need to step up and demystify much of fashion’s increasingly decentralised and complex path to market.
These questions encourage fashion businesses like RUBY to understand the social and environmental impact of our business practices and products. And as responsible people who design clothes, we intend to be part of the solution, not the problem.
At RUBY, we want to do fashion better and be open with you about what we’ve achieved so far. There is no magic fix but there are steps, some simple and others less so, that we are taking. Sustainability is not straightforward, and comes with a distinct set of challenges, but we believe it’s all worth it for a world beyond next season.
Our team is passionate about seeing the issue of sustainability through a holistic lens. This means that you, our customer, along with our team, other businesses and the wider community are on this journey with us. We can push forward together, make change together and have fun with our style and clothing choices along the way.
Explore RUBY’s Toolbox for Change. Here you’ll find details on what our business is currently doing to transition towards a more sustainable reality as well as our goals for the future. Let’s do this!
We are constantly reviewing our production processes, from the fibres and materials we use, to where we produce & who we work with.
RUBY is excited to be a founding partner of New Zealand industry collective, Mindful Fashion New Zealand. The collective was dreamt up in October 2018 and launched in March 2019 to create real change in local and international supply chain traceability through the power of the group.
MFNZ is an open invitation to New Zealand designers to join together and work collaboratively to ensure socially ethical and environmentally responsible clothing production.
Brands that carry out a portion of their manufacturing in New Zealand face a unique set of challenges to uphold ethical standards in a small-scale context. We hope the new collective will strengthen the local fashion industry and lead to positive change. For us, sustainability is a prerequisite for ongoing business success.
- Build the foundations for success - create a Mindful Fashion Code of Conduct that all members must agree to and sign before asking their makers and suppliers to adhere to the Code of Conduct
- Share the costs of auditing New Zealand clothing factories across the group and provide discounts for offshore auditing as a collective
- Promote the benefits of transparency and collaboration (Knowledge sharing on best practice is a win-win for everyone)
- Provide industry training workshops on clothing that’s sustainable from both an ethical and environmental perspective
- Use group bargaining power to access and order sustainable fabrics
- Empower design teams to make smarter choices
We’re committed to building a more responsible production cycle, which includes the materials we use in seasonal collections. This can sometimes be a challenge due to the fact that we often source stock fabric from local supply agents, making traceability tricky.
Our design team now use Global Recycle Standard-certified recycled polyester in an effort to divert more plastic bottles from landfill. Triacetate & Acetate, two of our favourite fabrics (and yours!) to use in collections, have now both been 100% traced back to a responsible source, and in light of this RUBY has ordered 4309 meters of these fabrics for use in collections between January - August 2019. The fabric is used to make pieces like our Firebird Pant, Weirder Slip and Nirvana Skirt.
Locally, fabric offcuts are donated to schools & companies that produce boxing bags or reused for sampling purposes. We also do not permit the use of angora fur in any circumstance, due to the cruel way that it’s obtained from the angora rabbit. Read more here.
It’s RUBY’s responsibility to know that everyone who works on a RUBY product, does so in a safe, fair and non-discriminatory workplace. We provide this for our employees and we also require this of our suppliers.
Our business plays an important role in ensuring the men and women who work on our garments are treated fairly and carry out their role in respectful working conditions. RUBY employees must ensure that all new suppliers sign our Code of Conduct that covers the following:
- Child labour shall not be used. RUBY does not accept the economic exploitation of children
- Employment is freely chosen and not forced
- No discrimination is practiced
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
- Working conditions are safe & hygienic
- Working hours are not excessive
- Wages are paid on time & in full
- Regular employment is provided
RUBY will not tolerate abuse of human rights anywhere in our business or supply chain. Fashion should be fair for everyone! This code of conduct goes beyond garment production, and includes all other suppliers from rubbish collection and maintenance to clear-cutting photography and tradespeople.
Currently, 60% of all RUBY’s CMT (Cut-Make-Trim) work is completed in Auckland, New Zealand. The remaining 40% is completed in China.
While we love and will continue to support local makers, producing on home turf comes with a unique set of challenges. One is the degree of difficulty in auditing small, local makers. Auditing locally is important if RUBY wishes to participate and improve our grade with Tearfund’s Ethical Fashion Report each year.
This is where our partnership with Mindful Fashion New Zealand steps in. Together with other local fashion brands, we will begin to audit domestic factories as a group, reducing costs and sharing knowledge to help the industry evolve.
Our Chinese factories are audited by internationally accredited auditors such as Qualspec every year. If an audit reveals areas to improve, a follow up is carried out 3-6 months later to ensure the necessary change is taking place.
Details of the factories that we work with are as follows:
|Years worked together||5||5||3||5||1||0.5||10||10||10||10||2||7||2||2||10||10||10||5|
|Number of staff||781||22||2||191||20||65||2||3||11||10||8||5||18||6||2||16||3||2|
|% of women||69%||59%||50%||86%||25%||30%||50%||33%||73%||90%||88%||60%||83%||50%||0%||94%||67%||0%|
|Youngest team member||16||22||40||20||25||28||65||45||35||40||32||40||35||45||45||35||31||40|
|Area of expertise||Wovens, Knits, Denim, Coats||Wovens, Knits||Knitwear||Coats, Suiting||Knitwear||Knitwear||Grading||Cutting||Wovens||Wovens||Wovens||Knits||Wovens||Wovens||Wovens||Wovens||Pleating||Cutting|
Our design process is completed in house at our RUBY head office in Auckland, where we employ a patternmaker and sample machinist. This allows for flexibility and the ability to produce all collection samples on home turf.
How our fabrics and clothes arrive in New Zealand is important to us. We’re making steps to prioritise sea freight over air, as a more sustainable transport option. Currently, RUBY sea freights 40% of the time, however our goal is to achieve a 70% sea freight rate.
As part of our pledge to a more sustainable RUBY, we’ve turned the spotlight on packaging. There’s an environmental cost to everything that’s accepted into our supply chain, from the smallest care label to wrapping paper and garment bags.
All existing packaging has been scrutinised and better alternatives sourced where possible. Ultimately, we believe that the packaging our customers can reuse many times over is superior to recycling after one use. When we favour packaging that is durable and has prolonged use, we help to lessen the impact of producing the item in the first place.
While home compostable packaging is the best alternative to replace many items that are traditionally made from plastic, in some cases the packaging item we require isn’t commercially viable on a mass scale. When this is the case, we search for the next best option and continue to watch for innovations in the space.
The alternatives below are helping RUBY tread more lightly on the planet.
Accessory Packing Bag
Previously our factory partners shipped handbags and wallets to RUBY in LDPE Plastic bags and a secondary non-woven pouch. Last year alone, 20,000 small and 10,000 medium size poly bags were ordered. Now, we request that all accessories are shipped in a singular home compostable bag - it still protects what’s inside and composts in the same time frame as a banana peel.
If you don’t have the means to compost at home, we encourage you to bring your RUBY home compostable packaging back in to your nearest RUBY store and we will do it for you. We compost these items responsibly through We Compost.
All protective packaging for accessories has been, and will continue to be, made from recycled paper.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
The old RUBY accessory pouch wasn’t doing the planet any favours. It used standard cotton and plastic-coated drawstring cord with metal ends. Just last year we ordered 22,000 small pouches and 5,000 large pouches. Ouch.
The new pouches are made of GOTS 5.0 certified organic cotton and feature a drawstring cord made from paper pulp. They’re designed to be reused and are great for storing jewellery, carrying toiletries while on holiday or as a dust bag for leather belts and bags. Even better, they'll completely breakdown at the end of their life.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
RUBY’s new care cards are made from 100% FSC-certified recycled paper. The paper pulp has been recycled from post consumer waste and uses less energy and water during production than virgin paper. Please recycle your care card after purchase.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
Silica Gel Packets
Silica gel packets are found inside RUBY wallets, shoes and bags. The small envelopes contain beads of silica gel, which is used to absorb unwanted moisture and combat mould growth.
Don’t throw the packets in the bin when unwrapping your purchase, silica gel packets are very useful. Here’s how to reuse them:
- When storing shoes and bags, pop one into the box or dust bag to ensure any unwanted moisture doesn’t creep in. Do the same with leather jackets, wool coats or other seasonal garments.
- Add to any box or filing system that contains important documents, photos or mementos.
- Slip a packet between the photo and the back of the frame when hanging photographs.
- Store electronics with a silica gel packet inside a sealed container to avoid rust. Do the same with razors and extra razor blades.
- Collecting seeds for a new planting season? Store them with silica gel packets inside a sealed container to keep moisture and mould away from the seeds.
Still need to dispose of the silica packets?
Cut the packet and toss the crystals into your regular rubbish bin. Silica is not toxic or combustible. Then, recycle the empty paper packet with the rest of your recycling.
Clothing Packing Bag
We’ve swapped our old LDPE Plastic clothing packing bags for a commercially compostable alternative. EU-certified BASF supply sheets that look and feel similar to plastic, but are made from compostable materials like corn starch. The sheets are sealed together to form a packing bag that safely transports clothes from a factory like the old plastic bags did, with significantly less environmental impact.
At the end of a bag’s use, RUBY takes responsibility to ensure the bags are commercially composted.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
Garment bags protect clothes when they are transferred between RUBY’s eight stores nationwide. Until now, we have used LDPE Plastic bags however in December 2019 our team trials a reusable recycled nylon alternative bag, starting in Christchurch. If successful, 2020 will see the new reusable bag rolled out across all stores, significantly reducing waste.
RUBY and Liam swing tags are made from FSC-certified paper sources. We collect our teams’ swing tags from their RUBY and Liam purchases in order to divert the tags from landfill and reuse for future collections. We put the saved money (a new swing tag costs roughly 50 cents) towards fun activities or meals for our employees throughout the year. Over 1000 swing tags were collected in 2018.
Garment & Care Labels
RUBY garment labels are made from GOTS 5.0 certified-organic cotton. Liam’s garment labels are made using cast off polyester. The polyester is shredded, melted and spun into new recycled threads. This process prevents useful material resources from being wasted, and reduces energy usage in making a new product from scratch. Care labels for both RUBY and Liam are also made from recycled polyester.
Broken plastic hangers are posted back to the manufacturer (Sistema), who grind the hangers down and make them into new products. We are actively looking for durable alternatives that are made from natural and recycled materials.
In Store Packaging
Wasteful packaging is going out of fashion. While we phase out single use items and embrace more sustainable packaging behind the scenes, RUBY needs the support of our customers to do the same in stores. Please consider if you really need that carry bag or other packaging when shopping with us. And where possible, reuse! Making the right choice should be easy. We’re doing our best not to stand in your way of making more sustainable shopping choices by offering our own alternatives like our [Market Bag](https://shop.rubynz.com/search.aspx?q=
RUBY x Compostic
With the help of our friends from Compostic, we now send out compostable courier bags for all online orders. Just like a banana peel, our mailer will break down into a soil enhancer within a matter of months when composted (even at home!). We celebrated with a material breakdown test in the worm farm compost bin at Kelmarna Gardens, our favourite community space.
Customer Carry Bags
RUBY’s paper carry bags are made from sustainable fibres and post-consumer waste. Do your bit to help reduce waste and reuse the bag as much as possible before recycling it responsibly.
For in store customers who decide they don’t need to take their purchase away in a carry bag, good for you! We will happily wrap your purchase in wrapping paper. Need a carry bag? We charge per bag (no more than the exact production cost) and donate 100% of the proceeds to Mental Health Foundation New Zealand. Research shows that charging for carry bags is the best way to encourage change in behaviour. Small RUBY bag$1.11Medium RUBY bag$1.55Accessory pouch$0.61Sale bag$0.92
RUBY x Rethink Market Bag
These beauties are deceptively spacious and functional, perfect for holding all your bits and pieces. We love using them for our weekend produce market visits and brunch dates. Spend $100 and receive your own market bag for an additional $6.26 (we donate 100% of the proceeds to Mental Health Foundation New Zealand), or buy one for $13.
Rethink’s founder Lisa Cohen-Smith hopes the bags will encourage other businesses to reconsider their packaging
“We are immensely proud to be working together with RUBY. As passionate environmentalists this collaboration further highlights our message that we should all rethink the choices we make the impact these have on planet earth.”
Tip: The more times our market bag is used, the less overall environmental impact it will have. Think consciously and give your RUBY market bag many more lives.
In Store Stationery
All RUBY’s in store paper stationery is made with FSC certified paper pulp. We print locally with Soar because they are compliant with ISO14001, carboNZero (CertTM) certified and offer both FSC and PEFC paper stocks.
Our sticker is FSC-certified, made on acid free paper, uses soy based ink and is fully compostable. We print with No Issue, click for more information.
Gift Wrap & Twine
Previously tissue paper was used to wrap up garments. Now, we’ve shifted to a thicker FSC-certified wrapping paper. It’s made from recycled materials, has lower energy and water use in production than virgin tissue paper, and is more easily reused for gift wrapping or recycled.
And, instead of ribbon, we’ve opted for a natural uncoated jute string for in store wrapping.
We’re proud to have a growing number of initiatives for customers to make the most of when they shop with RUBY, from care initiatives to encouraging accessibility for all. Please spread the word, and encourage your friends and family to buy better, love clothes for longer and upcycle where possible.
Sustainable Clothing Care
Want a wardrobe that’s kind to the planet and lasts the long haul?
One of the best ways to act more sustainably, also happens to be one of the easiest things to do. It’s simple - take care of your clothes.
When we take care of our clothes, we extend their lifespan. Longer active wear time keeps textiles out of landfills and reduces a garment’s overall carbon, waste and water footprint. Even nine extra months of active use can reduce a piece of clothing’s environmental impact by 20-30%.
Below are best practice care tips to help you look after your RUBY clothes. Check the label on a garment to see what it’s made of, then follow our tips in the table.
RUBY Loves Guppyfriend
We recommend that any clothing containing a synthetic textile, such as polyester, should be popped inside a Guppyfriend bag to reduce microplastic shedding. Wondering what a Guppyfriend is? Never heard of microplastic shedding?
A Guppyfriend is a smart, affordable solution to fighting the hidden pollution of microplastics that shed from synthetic textiles during the wash process. Essentially a fancy delicates bag, the Guppyfriend is designed to catch tiny plastic fibres that break off in the wash, and prevent them from entering our oceans and water systems. The washing bag not only reliably retains microfibers, but also protects the clothes: compared to washing without the Guppyfriend, 86% fewer fibers shed from synthetic textiles.
We see the bag as a great interim solution until washing machine technology catches up with in built filters.
You can purchase one online here, or at any RUBY store nationwide.
What Does ‘Natural Regenerated’ Mean?
It means the raw material that forms the fibre of the textile, like viscose or rayon for instance, is natural (from a wood or plant fibre, sometimes a waste product of another production process). It has gone through a manufacturing process where the fibres are treated with chemicals, filtered and spun into thread. A regenerated cellulose fiber has a smooth and lustrous appearance like silk, combined with the water absorption ability of cotton. It’s usually soft, highly drapable and often used to make blouses, shirts or suit linings.
Top Care Tips:
When washing clothing that contains more than one textile - for example a shirt made from 60% cotton, 40% silk - follow the care instructions for the most delicate fibre listed.
Wash less. Some clothing benefits more from being aired out, such as cashmere or wool sweaters, rather than subjected to frequent washing. And less washing means less water use and electricity. Who doesn’t love doing less laundry!
Wash cold. Water in combination with heat weakens textiles, especially anything synthetic. In most cases, 30 degrees Celsius is sufficient for washing your clothes.
Wash soft items with soft items. Separating clothes with hard and soft surfaces reduces friction, which in turn reduces fibre breakage. The same applies for overfilling the machine. A jammed wash cycle means more friction between your beloved clothes.
Many delicate items that are labelled ‘dry clean only’ can be washed on a low temperature wash cycle at home using gentle detergent. Or, hand wash and lay out to dry flat on a towel. We recommend patch testing before trying either of these alternatives (for example the back hem of a dress, or the underarm of a sleeve to check to see what happens when you handwash) as some garments can shrink or lose lustre. Less dry cleaning = less toxic chemicals and plastic garment wraps!
When washing clothing with zips, please ensure the zip is fully closed as it can weaken when it gets tangled with other garments.
|Fibre||Cotton||Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Cotton||Wool||Linen||Silk||Viscose/Rayon||Cupro||Lyocell||Lenzing Tencel ™||Acetate & Triacetate||Polyester||Recycled Polyester||Elastane||Acrylic||Nylon||Econyl ®|
|Natural/Synthetic||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Synthetic||Synthetic Regenerated||Synthetic||Synthetic||Synthetic||Synthetic Regenerated|
|What am I made of?||Fluffy cluster (boll) from a cotton plant.||Fluffy cluster (boll) from a cotton plant - certified by gots. Grown without the use of pesticides.||Sheep fleece. Spun into yarn & knitted into a garment or woven to create fabric.||Woody stems of flax. The flax is retted, dried, cured and spun into a fine yarn.||Spun from the threads of a silkworm cocoon.||Derived from pine or eucalyptus wood pulp which is treated with caustic soda & carbon disulphide. Developed as an alternative to silk.||A waste product from cotton. Undergoes a chemical process to be spun into a workable fibre. A closed-loop process.||Derived from wood pulp or bamboo. Produced through a closed loop process to minimise toxic waste. Lyocel requires less energy and water to produce than cotton.||Wood pulp from sustainable forestry. Pulp goes through a solvent-spinning process, the water is recycled & solvent reused, ensuring a closed-loop process.||Cellulose extracted from wood pulp. Reacts with acetic acid to produce acetate flakes. Flakes are dissolved into a solvent & pass through a spinneret to form a fibre.||A type of plastic. Derived from petroleum.||Repurposed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - the same material as clear plastic bottles. Repurposed materials are sterilised, dried and turned into small chips. The chips are passed through a spinneret to form yarn. Ruby uses recyclyed polyester that meets global recycled standard (GRS)||Derived from petroleum. Blended with other fibres to add stretch and retention.||Derived from petroleum. Chemically processed (polymerisation) & spun through spinnerets to form an acrylic fibre.||Nylon is the world's first totally synthetic textile. Derived from carbon chemicals which are heated and spun into fibre.||Made from rescued synthetic waste. Fabric, industrial waste and fishing nets are reclaimed then cleaned, regenerated and processed into textile yarn or carpet.|
|Care tips||Cold, gentle machine wash (unless label lists handwash). Avoid tumble drying to prevent shrinkage. |
*Denim - cold machine wash inside out, air dry. Be careful when storing - exposure to sunlight can cause the fibre to degrade.
|Cold, gentle machine wash (unless label lists handwash). Avoid tumble dry to prevent shrinkage. |
*Denim - cold machine wash inside out, air dry. Be careful when storing - exposure to sunlight can cause the fibre to degrade.
|Knitwear - handwash in cold water, lie flat to dry. If washed in warm water, wool can shrink significantly. Do not wring or tumble dry. Wool has a natural tendency to pill, so please use a RUBY wool comb. Some knitwear may be labelled dry clean only as washing can cause friction on the fibre. See care video here. |
Coats - dry clean only.
|Cold gentle machine wash (unless stated to handwash). When ironing, use medium heat and steam - linen has a tendency to wrinkle. Be careful when storing, exposure to sunlight can cause the fibre to degrade.||Dry clean only or spot clean. You can cold handwash silk - be aware that doing so can weaken the fibre, cause shrinkage of up to 5% and loss of lustre.||Cold, gentle machine wash unless labelled dry clean only. Viscose/rayon stretches and shrinks (3 - 8%) with wear and wash. After washing and drying, iron to press the garment back out to its original size.||Cold machine wash, do not tumble dry. Line dry. Be careful handling when wet. If label states dry clean only, you can cold handwash but be aware of 3 - 8% shrinkage.||Cold, gentle machine wash, or handwash in cold water, warm iron. Be careful handling when wet, as the fibre is at its weakest. If label states dry clean only, you can cold handwash but be aware of 3 - 8% shrinkage.||Cold gentle machine wash, or handwash in cold water, warm iron. Be careful when handling when wet. If label states dry clean only, you can cold handwash but be aware of 3 - 8% shrinkage.||Cold Hand-wash or cold gentle machine wash. Press with a low heat. Acetate & triacetate can be damaged by twisting, wringing or with high heat.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, lay flat to dry, iron on low.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry, do not bleach.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cool water, do not tumble dry.|
|Fibre Properties||Natural, breathable, soft, versatile||Natural, breathable, soft, versatile||Warm, breathable, natural insulator||Soft, absorbent, breathable, hypo-allergenic||Soft, smooth, breathable, lightweight||Drapes well, smooth, lightweight, breathable, versatile, highly absorbent||Beautiful sheen, biodegradable, silky smooth, drapes well||Soft, durable, breathable like linen||Soft, durable, breathable like linen||Dries quickly, resistant to stains, feels natural||Doesn't crease easily (great for travel!), durable, alternative to silk, easy care||Lightweight, hardwearing, doesn't crease easily, easy to care for||Stretchy, comfortable to wear, has great retention||Looks like wool, lightweight and warm||Extremely tough. Wrinkle and water resistant, fast drying||Stretchy, comfortable to wear|
All Is For All
All is For All is a new shopping website which acknowledges the challenges people with disabilities can face when purchasing clothes online. Founder Grace Stratton, a law student, fashion lover and lifelong wheelchair user, launched the e-commerce platform when she felt like the world of online shopping was not set up for people like her who have access needs.
“I need to see what a dress looks like on a model who is sitting down, not standing up. I also need to know about every zip, button and closure, so that I can determine if a garment is one I can dress myself in. Friends with vision issues often struggle with read-aloud text on websites; if it’s present at all, it will be clunky and basic and not particularly descriptive. These are just some of the issues that people with access needs struggle with. Accessibility is not just a physical thing – it’s about everyone having the same access to the same experience, and that includes online shopping.” - Grace Stratton
The platform helps to paint the full picture about fashion garments, so you can fall in love with clothes that function for you.
All Is For All believes in fashion without barriers and hopes to be an inclusive online shopping experience that simply provides the missing details. RUBY is proud to be a founding partner of this new movement.
RUBY offers custom sizing in all in stock styles for both RUBY and Liam, should you be after a size which is outside the sizes we currently produce.
You will only pay the standard retail price, and there are no extra fees for this service. We can make a completely new size in a style you love, or are happy to alter something off the rack to accommodate different access needs.
Everyone should be able to wear the clothes they love. Womanhood is brilliantly diverse and our clothing options should reflect this! Please ask in store about this service or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since October 2017, RUBY has partnered with one-stop rental destination Designer Wardrobe. By using a great rental service, you can have an endlessly new wardrobe and keep clothing budgets to a minimum, all while embracing circularity and diverting clothing from landfill.
Favourite RUBY styles are always available for short term rental. After your event, pop the item in a Designer Wardrobe return bag and send it back. It’s that easy.
On a business front, Designer Wardrobe allows us the opportunity to extend the life cycle of a RUBY garment, reducing waste, water and carbon footprints. One small step towards a culture where we use products, rather than own them.
Throughout the year we host repair events at our Newmarket store in Auckland, and promote them via social media. Bring in your RUBY clothes (from any season, no matter how old), and our in-house machinist will be ready to mend and/or hem your favourite pieces while you shop.
In the Community
As a New Zealand owned and operated business, we work and play in a wider community, and love to support charitable projects where we can. Here are some of the projects RUBY is proud to be a part of:
Breast Cancer Cure
RUBY is a long-time partner of Breast Cancer Cure. We support their fashion shows by lending 100 hours of our time per year to help out.
As a business, it’s important that we are available in the community to help out wherever we can have an impact. If there’s a fundraiser or project you’d like to chat to us about, please email email@example.com.
All proceeds from Christmas gift wrapping in store are donated to Women’s Refuge, and staff also collect gifts for those in need. Between January 2018 and June 2019, $5647 has been donated to this incredible New Zealand charity.
Paid Community Days
It’s a pretty great feeling when you can have a positive impact all on your own. So, we offer one paid day off per quarter for every full-time head office staff member.
Team work makes the dream work, right? Our employees are ambitious forward-thinkers, so we like to support them in being the best they can be. Here’s how we do it:
Have you ever worked exclusively in one department at work yet longed to gain more experience in another, without having to jump ship completely? 2018 marked the launch of our RUBY Academy, an in-house training programme that offers employees the chance to diversify their knowledge by completing training modules across different departments in two structured semesters per year.
Staff who apply must already work a minimum of 30 hours a week, and have worked for a minimum of one year.
Financial Literacy Training
Our HQ team is treated (yes, we just said that) to quarterly financial literacy workshops and seminars. The benefits are twofold: our staff better understand RUBY’s movements while they develop an understanding of important financial concepts that are essential for success in life, regardless if you own a business, or not.
Twice a year, RUBY managers are invited to listen to guest speakers who come to head office to tell their story and inspire the team.
Head Office Retreat
Taking time to evaluate our goals outside of everyday office life is important. Once a year we skip town and get away from it all with the head office team.
Head office team members can downward dog their way into the day one morning each week. This practice has become super popular and sets us up in all the best ways.
Paid Retail Internships
It can be tricky to gain paid experience in the workforce when you’re fresh out of, or still in high school. RUBY offers school age young adults paid retail internships of 12-15 hours over two weeks. Offered four times per year over school holiday periods, and no real work experience is necessary, our store managers will be there to help.
Employment Diversity Policy
We work hard to create a space where our team feels safe and empowered to connect and do great work. Differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical abilities and religious beliefs are welcomed and accepted on the basis that every individual is unique and powerful in their own right.
It’s important that RUBY remains a positive environment for every employee - we actively work to ensure that staff are protected against discrimination of any kind. When our team feels safe, accepted and therefore able to do their best work, RUBY is better off for it.
To manage our daily environmental impact, RUBY continues to adopt lots of small policies in and around the office. The list is ever growing. If you have a suggestion, please let us know!
Our RUBY HQ & stores' food scraps (and of course our RUBY x Compostic courier bags!) are collected weekly by We Compost and we're chuffed to say we've sent 960kgs of scraps for composting between October 2018 - June 2019. Instead of ending up in the bin as unnecessary waste, scraps find higher value and become nutritious compost to be used in community and school gardens across Auckland.
All soft plastics are reused both at head office and in our stores. Anything that can’t be reused must be recycled.
It’s no secret that the average business uses a lot of stuff. We do however try to keep our footprint to a minimum, and are always looking to improve. Ecostore products are ordered in bulk size for cleaning for HQ & our stores, office coffee is delivered from our friends down the road at Coffee Supreme, and we use Lewis Road organic milk. Toilet paper and hand towels are made from recycled materials.
The Future is Bright
We believe tomorrow’s successful businesses will be those that operate to the highest social and environmental standards. Step forward in time to take a look at what RUBY’s goals are from now until 2025.
All 100% linen used in RUBY or Liam collections to be traced back to source.
Design team starts research project into leather alternatives.
RUBY Recycle launches in partnership with Designer Wardrobe.
According to Global Fashion Agenda, 73% of all clothing worldwide ends up in landfill, and less than 15% of clothes are recycled. And we now know that extending a garment’s life by just three months can lower its water, carbon and waste footprint by 5-10%. RUBY Recycle is a great start in ensuring that your clothes are re-loved, reused and avoid landfill at all costs.
10% of all fabric used in each season must be made from sustainable fibres including organic cotton, linen & hemp and cupro; recycled cotton, polyester and nylon; specialty materials like ECONYL®, Lenzing TENCEL, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ and Monocel.
Achieve goal of tracing 50% of all new silk fabric back to source to ensure sustainable and ethical production is taking place from silkworm to final product. Increase to 70% by February 2020.
Achieve goal of ensuring that 5% of all buttons used in RUBY collections are made from recycled plastic or natural materials.
10% of all marketing collateral is printed using water or soy-based ink.
Hatch a plan for offcuts for external CMT (Cut-Make-Trim) work in RUBY’s China-based factories.
Work further towards supply chain visibility by ensuring that 30% of RUBY & Liam collections are tracked back to source. We are currently at 20%.
Head office runs first employee seminar on the role of innovative design in the circularity process.
Begin hosting apprenticeships for pattern makers and construction skills.
RUBY Repair service switches from an occasional service to always on.
Work with our partner factories so that they provide better access to training for their staff. Employees should have the opportunity to upskill and then increase their wage.
Launch research project into the use of fabric dyes to minimise environmental impact.
Build on the 2020 goal of 30% traceability. By 2021, 40% of RUBY and Liam collections will be traced back to source.
The Living Wage
Because we do not own garment and textile factories, and instead work with outside suppliers, RUBY’s ability to influence wages as an independent business has traditionally been limited.
With the launch of Mindful Fashion NZ, we hope to change the status quo by 2022, and work together as an industry (hello group bargaining power) to see sustainable increases in wages across our supply chain.
RUBY is committed to growing the wages of people who work in factories that are connected to our business. To do this, we are following the Global Living Wage Coalition for guidance on what a Living Wage looks like in the countries where we sew our fabrics (New Zealand and China) and where we source our fabrics (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam).
An individual who is paid a fair, living wage creates a ripple effect. And it flows out beyond the job itself. A living wage brings stability to families, and from there the benefits flow out into communities. Often, the desire to upskill and further educate oneself becomes a new focus, as the pressure of making ends meet no longer applies.
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 workers and their families such as food, transportation, housing and childcare.
At RUBY we are already committed to making sure that the people who make our clothes, fabrics and source the raw materials are - at a minimum - paid the minimum wage in the country they live and work in. However as part of our commitment to more ethical and sustainable production practices, we intend to see their wages grow to meet the Living Wage level by the end of 2022.
In 2018, RUBY carried out research to calculate the Living Wage level in both the countries our clothes are sewed in (New Zealand and China) and source our fabrics (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam).
To see New Zealand’s Living Wage calculations and information, take a look at Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand.
Living Wage information for China, Japan and Korea can be found at Global Living Wage Coalition.
RUBY is committed to being carbon neutral by the end of 2025. We will measure and then offset 100% of the CO2 emissions that are produced in the making of textiles and clothing, as well as across retail stores, head office and support operations. The first step? Accurately measure current emissions, and get a picture of what needs to change before 2025. We will break this down into key activities carried out over 12-month stages. Watch this space for how we are progressing, and remember to hold us accountable!
Our door is always open. If you have any questions about RUBY’s sustainability strategy and goals for the future, or would like to talk further on the topic, please get in touch with our General Manager Emily Miller-Sharma. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org