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.

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.

An important instrument for fulfilling our due diligence obligations along the supply chain is our Supply Chain Sustainability (SCS) program, which is based on the key elements of the Supplier Code of Conduct. With its three modules ‘Social Compliance Management’, ‘Environmental Management and "’Governance’, it combines environmental and social topics and is currently aimed at all our direct finished goods and fabric and trimming suppliers. In this way, HUGO BOSS has established a binding framework for fair working conditions and human rights in its supply chain. For example, child and forced labor are to be excluded. Guidance on processes to prevent child and forced labor, for example, is explicitly set out in our Child Labor Policy.  The Environmental Management module focuses on measures to limit climate change, protect water and soil, and prevent air pollution. The goal of the Governance module is to provide suppliers with tools that enable them to take on increasing responsibility for their own supply chain in accordance with the regulations in the Supplier Code of Conduct, while reducing their own environmental and social supply chain risks.

Regular audits

Only those suppliers 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 the submission of valid certificates or, if these documents are not sufficient, the submission of a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ). Depending on the results, the supplier may also be audited before entering into an active business relationship. The company uses SAQs in particular to verify compliance with the social standards specified by HUGO BOSS for fabric and trimmings suppliers before the start of the partnership. A check of whether new partners meet the standards specified by HUGO BOSS is not only carried out when they are selected. As part of our Social Compliance Check, a social compliance audit is carried out between one and 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, unannounced or in form of self-assessments. Each audit is followed by an extensive report. Detailed information about the requirements, along with training courses, help the suppliers comply with the standards. If a supplier been classified in one of the two best result categories in three consecutive audits, a Remote Risk Assessment, implemented in the form of a questionnaire, can replace the next scheduled audit.

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.

Ending business relationships with suppliers

At HUGO BOSS, we place great value on long-term partnerships. Nevertheless, in exceptional cases and for various reasons, it may happen that a business relationship with a supplier has to be terminated. In this case, it is important for us to proceed in a responsible manner. The supplier should have sufficient time to build up a new customer base. To this end, order volumes are reduced over time so that the supplier can gradually acquire orders from other customers that will fully utilize their capacity. For a detailed overview of possible reasons for terminating a business relationship and the factors to be considered, see our factsheet on responsible exit.

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 living wage, purchasing practices and gender-specific violence. 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. In November 2021, the partnership initiative entered the second phase. 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. To this end, we collect wage data from our finished goods suppliers in particular and analyze any wage gaps, among other things. Based on the recorded wage gaps, targeted pilot projects are 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. The project's action plan is based on our strategy and the local situation and includes efficiency programs, training, responsible purchasing practices, social dialog and collective bargaining.

  • Strengthening factory-internal complaint mechanisms in Pakistan

    Within the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, a first module in the Partnership's complaint mechanisms initiative has been in place since April 2021: the opening of the Fair Wear complaint mechanism to partnership and AGT members in Vietnam and India. Together with partnership member Fairtrade Germany e.V., the Textile Partnership and Green Button have now developed a second module. The aim of the project is to support textile factories in Pakistan in establishing functioning factory-internal complaint mechanisms or to further develop existing mechanisms. Fairtrade Germany is coordinating implementation on the ground.

    Up to 20 textile factories are to receive training as part of the project. Similar to the Fairtrade Textile Program implemented in India, the factories in Pakistan will also receive individualized support services, implemented with the help of a team of local experts. In addition to training sessions for employees, in which they are informed about their rights and how to deal with complaint mechanisms, there are special offers for management to sensitize them to the needs of employees. In addition, the installation of functioning complaint channels is one of the main objectives. This will enable factories to resolve incidents and grievances together with employees in the future.

  • 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).

     

  • Women Café in Bangladesh

    To promote equal opportunities in our supply chain, we have established a Women's Café in Bangladesh. In the future, this will offer women who work in factories a safe space to discuss their problems. In addition, training sessions are also offered to educate women about their rights and topics such as health and safety.

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

 

Fair Compensation in our Supply Chain

We are committed to fair compensation in our supply chain to enable local workers and their families to have a decent standard of living. Therefore, we have developed a concrete strategy towards living wages, based on seven guiding principles.

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 in person or via form. In addition, employees and employees of our suppliers can report violations via the Company's own electronic whistleblowing portal. 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 26 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
    E-Mail: ombudsmann@thielvonherff.com
    Thiel von Herff Rechtsanwälte
    Loebellstraße 4
    33602 Bielefeld
    Germany

  • 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
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Brazil: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Bulgaria: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Croatia: 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
    • India: 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  
    • Malaysia: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Macedonia: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Mexico: 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
    • South Korea: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Taiwan (SAR China): 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Thailand: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • Turkey: 00800 66 28 37 626 / 00800 OMBUDSMAN
    • United Kingdom: 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 (SAR China): 0086 1350 0009 061  
    • Sri Lanka: 0086 1350 0009 061   
    • Bangladesh: 0086 1350 0009 061 
    • Laos: 0086 1350 0009 061 
    • Vietnam: 0086 1350 0009 061 

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Current Topics

Jul | 18 | 2022
ZDHC awards HUGO BOSS with the highest ranking in chemical management
May | 23 | 2022
Statement on current inquiries on the Xinjiang region
May | 18 | 2022
HUGO BOSS publishes its Sustainability Report for 2021