A Commitment to People
People are at the heart of the fashion industry, playing integral roles in its functioning and success. From our supplying partners who skillfully craft our garments to the dedicated staff in our head office, the well-being, rights, and empowerment of individuals throughout the entire supply chain are of utmost importance.
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA recognise the significance of fair labour practices, safe working conditions, and the overall welfare of workers. By fostering a culture of respect, inclusivity, and social equity, we strive to create a positive impact on the lives of those involved in the creation of our products.
Our commitment to People goes beyond our immediate operations and extends to advocating for human rights, promoting diversity, and contributing to the advancement of sustainable livelihoods within the fashion industry and beyond.
We will not achieve this alone and recognise that collaboration is key in this space.
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA are, therefore, members of the United Nations Global Compact and have declared support for the Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA are also members of Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), an online platform where we identify, manage, and assess our social and environmental supply chain risks.
Further to this, we are continuing to look to our peers or other industry counterparts to collaborate with. You will often see Aje and AJE ATHLETICA hosting roundtables or hosting events within the sustainability realm — this is where the magic happens.
|No. of Suppliers
|No. of Facilities
|No. of Country Locations
Target 1: 100% of Tier 1 Suppliers Social Standards Verified
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have always celebrated and respected the craftsmanship, techniques and care required to create its unique garments, with Aje historically working alongside pattern makers and garment workers in a dedicated Bali studio.
As the brand has grown, Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have continued to seek a level of connection and confidence in knowing who is making each collection. This requires an ongoing assessment and evaluation of fair working conditions to ensure the required standards are met, and as such Aje and AJE ATHLETICA has built a robust and credible Social Compliance Program that 100% of manufacturing suppliers must adhere to.
Within this Program, our supplying partners must first sign up to our Supplier Code of Conduct, and then provide full visibility of their supply chain.
Each of our supply partners is required to register on Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), complete a detailed self-assessment questionnaire and upload a valid ethical audit (every 12 months), completed by an independent third party.
Data from both the self-assessment questionnaire and audit data are used to support our AJE AWARE Audit program, which restricts orders being placed on facilities that do not meet our standards.
Target 2: 100% of Tier 2 Suppliers Traced
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have traced 100% of our manufacturing facilities (Tier 1).
Across Aje and AJE ATHLETICA, we have 34 manufacturing facilities, located in China, India, Indonesia and Australia.
AJE is on a journey to trace back to the fibre and will continue to update you on our progress here.
AJE supply chain defined:
Tier 1 - Final Stage Manufacturing and Assembly
Tier 2 - Fabric Manufacturing
Tier 3 - Raw Material Processing
Tier 4 - Raw Materials Production
Tier 5 - Material Sourcing
Target 3: Top Risk NTP Suppliers Social Standards Verified
Australia is characterized by a substantial presence of migrant and temporary labour within its workforce. A notable aspect of this demographic is that English serves as their secondary language. As a consequence of their status, these individuals often secure employment in roles categorized as low-skilled, encompassing occupations like cleaning, freight handling, and even direct marketing activities.
However, this particular labour dynamic presents inherent risks for the industries involved and therefore Aje and AJE ATHLETICA will be rolling out their Social Compliance Program to their top risk Non-Trade Procurement suppliers over the next 12 months.
How do you ensure your suppliers meet your standard outlined in your Supplier Code of Conduct?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have strict requirements, outlined in our Supplier Code of Conduct (Code) on health and safety, human rights and the fair, lawful and respectful treatment of workers in supplier factories.
To ensure our suppliers are upholding the standards outlined in our Code, we have implemented a robust Social Compliance Program, that requires all manufacturing suppliers to participate in.
This program requires all manufacturing facilities to provide a valid* audit report to ensure compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. The Tier 1 facility must arrange for their auditor to upload their ethical audit and non-compliance data onto SEDEX and ensure it is visible to AJE.
*Aje and AJE ATHLETICA will consider an audit to be valid if:
1. It is a social or ethical audit;
2. Issued in the last 12 months; and
3. Performed by a third-party APSCA-certified auditor
AJE requests their suppliers to have their audit performed on a semi-unannounced or unannounced basis.
Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) is AJE's preferred audit standard, but we do not want to add to the current audit fatigue in the industry and therefore we accept any of the following audit standards:
• Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) 4-Pillar
• Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) 2-Pillar
• Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)
• Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
• Social Accountability International (SA8000)
All social audits verify a broad range of performance indicators to ensure that production sites operate in compliance with social and environmental laws and international standards.
We do, however, recognise the limitations of factory audits and thus also require each manufacturing facility to complete a comprehensive self-assessment, which is used to further assess risk. This information is overlaid with audit data to ensure information and corrective action plans for each facility in the supply chain are accurate and appropriate.
As part of understanding how to further improve our manufacturing processes, we aim to build authentic, respectful and supportive relationships with our supplying facilities through regular communications and visits. It's through these relationships, that we will be able to gain deeper insight into the unique concerns that inevitably arise within the factories and regions in which we manufacture.
What's your process when it comes to working with new suppliers?
We have created a three-step process for identifying and onboarding new suppliers.
Firstly, we will assess the quality of their work and their ability to deliver on the creative vision, whilst also conveying our social and environmental values and standard.
The second phase is pre-engagement, where our ESG manager reviews a current (within the past 12 months) ethical audit and ensures that it meets our standard outlined in our Code.
The third phase is onboarding, which includes signing our Supplier Agreement, which incorporates our Supplier Code of Conduct, providing full visibility of their supply chain, registering on SEDEX and the completion of a self-assessment questionnaire that looks at labour standards and specific risks relating to human rights.
Who checks and how do they do it?
Our suppliers are required to pass an independent, ethical standards audit. In addition, we aim for each supplier to be visited regularly, in person, by an appropriate member of the Aje or AJE ATHLETICA team.
What do you do if you find a problem?
It is not uncommon for issues to be found following an audit, often referred to as a non-compliance. The auditor will assign each non-compliance a criticality; Minor, Major or Critical.
If there is a critical issue, Aje or AJE ATHLETICA deems that factory as Not-Approved and no futher orders can be placed with that factory until the issue has been closed out. To ensure these issues are closed out in a reasonable time frame, we require our suppliers to complete a corrective action plan, outlining how they are going to close out these issues identified.
We manage our audits and the various non-compliances that arise during the audit cycle via SEDEX. Here, the auditor will verify that the issue has been closed out. We actively support our suppliers throughout this process.
Do you operate your own factories?
No, Aje and AJE ATHLETICA do not own/operate any factories.
Do you have any mechanisms in place which enable workers in your supply chain to report issues and raise complaints anonymously?
Each social audit monitors the existing grievence mechanisms in place. Aje and AJE ATHLETICA understands that there is more work to be done in this space and we will keep you updated with our progress here.
How does AJE ensure garment workers are paid a living wage?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA are committed to maintaining high ethical standards throughout the supply chain as part of our broader sustainability program. We support the payment of a fair living wage and our Supplier Code of Conduct (Code) outlines our expectation of suppliers to pay a fair living wage.
Currently, as there is no universally agreed methodology for calculating a "living wage", audit authorities benchmark against legal or industry minimum standards in the country or region of manufacture.
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA are doing further work to understand whether our expectations regarding the payment of a living wage are being met, commencing with a pilot project in Indonesia. This project will commence July 2023 and we will update you here with the outcome.
How do you ensure no modern slavery is within your supply chain?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA do not condone the use of forced labour and have zero tolerance for slavery of any type.
We acknowledge that we are operating in a high-risk industry and are committed to understanding and managing these risks along our supply chain.
As mentioned above, we have in place a Supplier Code of Conduct (Code) which is the cornerstone of our social compliance program and outlines the minimum terms and conditions of doing business with Aje and AJE ATHLETICA. Within this Code, it states: Forced labour in any form is prohibited in any and all parts of the Aje and AJE ATHLETICA supply chain. Specifically, but not limited to, Aje and AJE ATHLETICA recognises the principles of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and do not permit the sourcing of raw materials or labour from the Xinjiang province throughout its supply chain. Documentation will be requested by Aje and AJE ATHLETICA to show the Chain of Custody for cotton styles produced in China. AJE Collective has also signed the Turkman Cotton Pledge, banning the use of cotton from Turkmenistan.
To ensure our Code is being adhered to, we have implemented a robust Social Compliance Program that ensures we are partnering with suppliers and facilities who are as equally committed to human rights.
Tracing our supply chain is a top priority for Aje and AJE ATHLETICA. To date, Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have achieved 100% traceability of all manufacturing suppliers (Tier 1) and have commenced tracing our input suppliers and beyond. Aje is committed to gaining full visibility of our supply chains, acknowledging that the risks of modern slavery is often further up the supply chain.
Furthermore, we are a member of the United Nations Global Compact and actively participate in its Australian Chapter. The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten (10) universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
We recognise, however, that we have more work to do to understand the level at which our expectations are being implemented. It is, for this reason, we have in place a dedicated ESG manager and modern slavery steering committee (inclusive of the C-suite) who are responsible for actively engaging and working with our suppliers to understand the social, environmental and ethical standards in our supply chain and for implementing our Aje Aware program. This includes, if and when there are issues found, working with suppliers to resolve concerns and achieving more positive outcomes for the people who make our products.
Further to this, each year we train our head office staff in Modern Slavery addressing the risks associated with their specific industries.
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA will be submitting our inaugural Modern Slavery Statement under Australian legislation before December 2023 and this will outline all we are doing in this space; we look forward to sharing this with you.
Do you prohibit sourcing materials from any particular regions?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA recognise the principles of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and do not permit the sourcing of raw materials or labour from the Xinjiang province throughout its supply chain.
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have also signed the Turkman Cotton Pledge, banning the use of cotton from Turkmenistan.
Further to this, we do not source cotton from Syria, Tajikistan or Uzbekistan.
What policies does AJE have in place?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA have developed a Supplier Code of Conduct (Code), to help communicate our values to our supplying partners. All supplying partners must sign up to this Code and adhere to it at all times.
100% of our Tier 1 manufacturing suppliers have signed our Code.
Our Code is based on the ETI Base Code and outlines not only our values but our minimum requirements for doing business with Aje and AJE ATHLETICA in relation to environmental, social and ethical issues along our supply chain.
The following principles are embedded in the Code:
Commitment to Human Rights, Equal Opportunity and Employment Responsibility
- Commitment to Animal Welfare and Environmental Responsibility
- Commitment to Ethical Responsibility and Transparency
- Commitment to all First Nations Peoples
- Commitment to AJE Business Values
- Commitment to Suppliers and Mutual Respect by Aje and AJE ATHLETICA
In a case where our Code is not upheld or has been breached, communication between the Supplier and Aje and AJE ATHLETICA is the first step. Continuous improvement is key and corrective action plans to solve problems will be devised and implemented in collaboration with the Supplier and AJE. If there is no improvement and a positive outcome cannot be reached, Aje and AJE ATHLETICA will be within our rights to terminate our contracts and relationship with the Supplier.
The Aje and AJE ATHLETICA Supplier Code of Conduct is available to read here.
Has Aje and AJE ATHLETICA traced their entire supply chain?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA are proud to have achieved 100% traceability of all Tier 1 suppliers and have commenced tracing Tier 2 suppliers and beyond.
Where are your factories?
Aje and AJE ATHLETICA partner with a range of leading manufacturers in China, India, Indonesia and Australia.
Why has AJE not published their supplier list?
As a company, we prioritise transparency and ethical practices in our supply chain. However, we also need to balance the need for transparency with the need to protect the privacy and commercial interests of our suppliers.
We regularly review and audit our suppliers to ensure they meet our high standards, but we do not publish our supplier list due to confidentiality agreements and the competitive nature of the fashion industry. Nevertheless, we are committed to continually improving our practices and welcome any further questions you may have regarding our supply chain.
If you would like to hear more about our Ethical Sourcing program, please feel free to reach out to our ESG Manager at email@example.com