Social Aspects of the Supply Chain

Fair working conditions are the highest aim
Work has to be humane, safe, and fair. These are the foundations of the HUGO BOSS Supplier Code of Conduct, which the company and its suppliers pledge to follow. They define a minimum standard for countries where local laws have weaker provisions and are a prerequisite for collaboration with HUGO BOSS.

The social standards: committed to good working conditions

The HUGO BOSS Supplier Code of Conduct forms the basis of cooperation with suppliers. Social standards are an important framework for partners, especially in countries where national legislation does not adequately protect workers.

The HUGO BOSS Supplier Code of Conduct is based on internationally recognized standards such as the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among other things, it prohibits child and forced labor and prescribes decent working conditions and adequate wages. The Supplier Code of Conduct also guarantees the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. In addition, it contains provisions on environmental standards to be observed. The Supplier Code of Conduct is reviewed regularly to ensure that it is up to date. In this process, feedback from various stakeholders is taken into account.

To support suppliers in implementing the specific requirements of the Supplier Code of Conduct, particularly with regard to child and forced labor, HUGO BOSS developed a separate guideline in 2018. The Child Labor Policy contains, among other things, guidelines on processes designed to prevent child and forced labor, as well as explanations on concrete measures that must be taken if child or forced labor is involved.

Regular audits

When we select new partners, we review whether they fulfill the social standards defined by HUGO BOSS. Only those who pass the three-stage selection process are included in the supplier portfolio. In addition to formal recognition of the Supplier Code of Conduct, this includes self-disclosures by suppliers (SAQs) or the submission of valid certificates. Depending on the results, the supplier may also be audited before entering into an active business relationship. As part of our Social Compliance Check, an audit is carried out six or twelve months after the start of the business relationship, depending on the country risk. The social compliance audits are repeated regularly over the course of the business relationship – partially announced, some unannounced. Each audit is followed by an extensive report. Detailed information about the requirements, along with training courses, help the suppliers comply with the standards.

Support for improvements

If violations of the Supplier Code of Conduct are discovered, corrective action plans are developed together with the supplier to rectify the situation. Their implementation is reviewed and documented in defined audit cycles (see our supplier factsheet for more information). If no improvement has been made, HUGO BOSS will ultimately end the partnership with the supplier as a last resort.

Phases and priorities of our commitment

HUGO BOSS for Tamil Nadu

Initiate dialogs, promote discussion, submit improvements: HUGO BOSS supports the Tamil Nadu Partnership initiative aimed at improving working conditions in the local textile industry.

Human rights and labor standards

HUGO BOSS is committed to upholding human rights and complying with international social standards in the global supply chain. By 2025, we aim to source all of goods from finished goods suppliers that have at least satisfactory social audits.

Health and safety

HUGO BOSS defines its own HUGO BOSS Social Standards to ensure health and safety at the workplace. This is particularly important in countries where legal and societal protections for workers are relatively weak.

HUGO BOSS commitment in the supply chain

HUGO BOSS places great value on collaborations with businesses and organizations to achieve systematic sustainability improvements along the textile value chain through our consolidated expertise. HUGO BOSS’ commitments to collaborations for improving labor and social standards in the supply chain are summarized below.

  • Fair Labor Association (FLA)

    HUGO BOSS joined the FLA in 2014 to promote and protect employee rights and to advance improvements to working conditions. The HUGO BOSS Social Compliance Program was fully accredited for the first time in 2018 (more information here) and will now be assessed regularly. The implementation of the Social Compliance Program is continuously monitored by independent assessments conducted by the FLA at selected HUGO BOSS suppliers and the results are published on the FLA website.


  • Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

    HUGO BOSS became a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles in 2015. The initiative, whose members cover nearly half of the German textiles market, aims to improve the social, environmental, and economic conditions in global textiles production together. HUGO BOSS, for example, is active in working groups on the topics of climate protection and purchasing practices. Members undertake to publish a due diligence plan every two years in which the most serious social, ecological and corruption risks in their own supply chain are identified, targets and measures are set, and progress in implementing the targets is reported on.

  • Tamil Nadu Initiative

    In the framework of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, HUGO BOSS has supported the partnership initiative “Tamil Nadu” since 2017. This initiative aims to improve social standards at spinning mills and textile factories in the southern India region, with a special focus on improving women’s rights. In collaboration with local NGOs, employees and managers are trained in workers’ rights and complaint mechanisms. In particular, the members seek to establish trust among the different stakeholders in the Tamil Nadu textile industry and supports the establishment of a political dialog between local governments, suppliers, and civil society.

    The initial agreement expired in May 2021. Until a final decision has been made on the long-term continuation of activities on site, we have decided to support the interim agreement, which will extend the Accord for a further three months on a transitional basis. 

  • Initiative Living Wage Lab

    From 2019 on, HUGO BOSS was involved in the Living Wages Initiative as part of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. Over the last years, the members have worked in collaboration with Action Collaboration Transformation (ACT) to improve their purchasing practices so that suppliers have greater scope for wage increases. Based on a survey which was conducted internally and with our suppliers, we developed a target and action plan.

    Starting from September 2021, HUGO BOSS has joined the follow-up initiative Living Wage Lab of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. Participating members are currently collaborating to develop an individual strategy for living wages and, wherever possible, to realize scalable solutions for wage increase at the supplier-level. Training modules on open costing and social dialogue with national and international trade unions, civil society organizations, and other relevant players are also part of the initiative.

  • International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry

    HUGO BOSS is a member of the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. The International Accord represents an independent, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions working for higher health and safety standards, support for workers' rights and increased transparency in the global apparel industry. The International Accord is the expanded successor of the Bangladesh Accord, that expired in May 2021. We have been a member of the Bangladesh Accord almost since its beginning (2016).


Our supply chain management in times of COVID-19

Particularly in difficult situations, the importance of partnership and trusting relationships with our suppliers becomes apparent. We assume responsibility for our global value chain and strive to achieve high sustainability standards. Through responsible and fair purchasing practices, we are committed to a long-term stable supply chain. Therefore, HUGO BOSS voluntarily and - where possible - follows the guidelines for responsible purchasing practices developed by the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles during COVID-19. The focus is on continuous dialog with suppliers regarding the handling of orders and related payments, as well as health risks and the potential risk of infection in production facilities.

COVID-19 Statement


HUGO BOSS Statement on the Chinese region of Xinjiang

Respect for human rights is an important and integral part of our sustainability management. HUGO BOSS does not tolerate forced labor, coercive labor or any other manifestations of modern slavery, and expects its partners to abide by the same principles. We have summarized our position on the current reports on the Xinjiang region in this statement.

Statement on Xinjiang


HUGO BOSS is committed to fair compensation in the supply chain

Our commitment

The Managing Board of HUGO BOSS officially commits to fair compensation in the supply chain. At HUGO BOSS, we understand that fair compensation among our global partners is not only the basis for long-term trust and partnership, but is also a prequisite for employees to live independent lives. For us, this also includes the payment of living wages by suppliers to their employees. For HUGO BOSS, this has been and will continue to be an essential aspect of a sustainable supply chain. That is why we are participating in the design of industry-wide standards and working together with other stakeholders on an individual compensation strategy for our suppliers' employees.

We are convinced that all employees, both at our own production sites and at those of our suppliers, have the right to receive regular and fair compensation for their work. At a minimum, the nationally applicable statutory minimum wage must be respected. In addition, all employees have the right to receive information on individual salaries, for example through detailed salary statements. Furthermore, HUGO BOSS recognizes the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and equal pay, and is committed to ensuring that these rights are granted to employees within its sphere of influence.

The work performance of a standard working week, as defined by respective national legislation and the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), shall be sufficiently remunerated by the supplier. The aim is to enable local employees and their families to have a decent standard of living. For HUGO BOSS, this means that the monetary means available must be sufficient to ensure the basic needs of food, water, housing, education, health care, transport and clothing for all members of the household. In addition, employees should have disposable income to build up reserves for unexpected events.

Our approach

We are aware that the statutory minimum wage that has been set in  countries we source from may not be sufficient to provide workers with the above-mentioned decent standard of living. Since we recognize fair compensation as a human right – and have also embedded this in our Supplier Code of Conduct – we work with initiatives such as the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to further promote this right. As part of this membership, as well as in the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, we are therefore also committed, among other things, to promoting political and economic framework conditions that enable a systematic improvement in the wage situation for workers in specific countries.

In addition, we continuously address our suppliers' specific compensation practices. To this end, we collect wage data from our finished goods suppliers in particular and analyze any wage gaps, among other things. For this purpose, we apply the FLA Compensation Dashboard. The dashboard is used to compare the average wage of suppliers with recognized benchmarks for living wages, in which we refer in particular to the wages specified by the Global Living Wage Coalition. If these are not available for certain countries, we refer to other reference values recognized by the FLA and the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. Based on the identified wage gaps, targeted projects can be implemented to gradually improve the wage situation. This is done in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, such as national and international NGOs, civil society organizations, trade unions or local legislators.

Our measures

In 2021, we are developing a concrete strategy to strengthen the promotion of fair compensation in the textile supply chain. As a first step, HUGO BOSS has collected wage data from its strategic finished goods suppliers in Asia. These cover 72% of the volume of finished goods produced by external strategic partners. We prioritized the analysis of high-volume partners and countries where there is a high risk that living wages are not paid to employees. Subsequently, we have also started to collect wage data from suppliers in the other regions, mainly in Europe. Here, the initial focus is also on our strategic finished goods suppliers. In parallel, we are starting to analyze any wage gaps. The results of the analysis will then lead to specific pilot projects in dialog and cooperation with the relevant stakeholders along the supply chain. Our newly established task force, which will drive the issue of fair compensation in the supply chain internally and anchor it in the company, plays an important role in our various measures.

We are also aware that responsible purchasing practices enable suppliers to plan their production and working hours more effectively and pay workers fairly. For this reason, we have conducted a survey on this topic both internally and with our suppliers, and have defined action plans for implementing internal training and developing metrics for responsible purchasing, among other things.

To optimize our own practices and procedures, we are also working closely with the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. In the future, we will continue to report regularly on the results of the analyses on wage differentials, on planned measures, and on progress already made by HUGO BOSS in the area of living wages.

HUGO BOSS declaration pursuant to the UK Modern Slavery Act

HUGO BOSS rejects all kinds of forced labor, especially modern slavery and human trafficking. HUGO BOSS regularly audits direct suppliers and partners to verify their compliance with the prohibition of modern slavery and human trafficking in accordance with our Code of Conduct, our Supplier Code of Conduct and the United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act of 2015. The following statement should send a clear signal of the HUGO BOSS commitment against all kinds of forced labor and modern slavery and demonstrate that HUGO BOSS is a socially responsible and reliable company.

Declaration on the UK Modern Slavery Act

Transparent complaint mechanism

Employees of HUGO BOSS, its partners, and its suppliers, as well as customers of the company and other third parties, have the possibility to contact the HUGO BOSS ombudsman directly with any questions or complaints or can report violations against social standards, working conditions, or human rights via the electronic HUGO BOSS Whistleblowing portal. In addition, white-collar crimes, antitrust violations, data protection violations and violations of compliance guidelines can also be reported. Confidentiality and anonymity are guaranteed for both whistleblowing channels.


  • Dealing with complaints – Whistleblowing Policy

    The HUGO BOSS Whistleblower Policy summarizes all information on the reporting of complaints due to violations by the company and for the protection of all whistleblowers.

  • HUGO BOSS Whistleblowing Portal

    The HUGO BOSS Whistleblowing portal offers confidential and anonymous communication with the HUGO BOSS Compliance department. The reporting form is available in over 25 languages.

  • Contact information for the HUGO BOSS ombudsman

    Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff, LL.M.
    External lawyer
    Phone: +49 521 55 7 333 0
    Mobile: + 49 151 58 23 03 21
    Thiel von Herff Rechtsanwälte
    Loebellstraße 4
    33602 Bielefeld

  • Form for submitting relevant information

    Employees, suppliers (and their employees) and customers can use the following form to contact the HUGO BOSS ombudsman directly. The form is available in many languages.

  • International phone numbers

    The HUGO BOSS ombudsman can be called toll-free using the international phone numbers listed below. Any language barriers will be eliminated by arranging professional interpreters when needed.

    • Egypt: 00800 00 09 571
    • Belgium: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Brazil: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Bulgaria: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Denmark: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN  
    • Germany: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN  
    • France: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN  
    • Greece: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • United Kingdom: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Indonesia: 001 803 49 32 86  
    • Ireland: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN  
    • Italy: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN  
    • Croatia: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Malaysia: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Macedonia: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Netherlands: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Austria: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Poland: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Portugal: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Romania: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Serbia: 0800 19 10 46
    • Switzerland: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Spain: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Thailand: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Turkey: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Ukraine: 00800 50 47 10
    • Hungary: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • United States: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
  • HUGO BOSS persons of trust in Asia

    In China, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka, HUGO BOSS has established separate phone numbers for HUGO BOSS persons of trust (not for the HUGO BOSS ombudsman), which will record information and complaints about violations at any time.

    • China: 0086 1350 0009 061      
    • Hong Kong: 0086 1350 0009 061  
    • Sri Lanka: 0086 1350 0009 061   


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