At Superdry we are committed with working with ethically compliant, sustainable factories.


To become the worlds’ most sustainable listed brand by 2030 we know we need to take our suppliers on the same journey that our we are on.

We work with our suppliers, workers, local and international organisations with collective aim to respect and promote human rights in line our Code of Practice, and to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Ethical compliance remains our baseline requirement – and all factories we work with are required to comply with our minimum standards.  We are increasingly working with our factories to become more sustainable workplaces 10% of our factories utilise renewable electricity, hold LEED Platinum, or ISO 50001 Certification - demonstrating investment and focus on reducing their energy and resource footprint.

Our sustainable business model benefits the development of our suppliers and manufacturers and helps to ensure we continue to prioritise working with market leading factories.

Monitor Compliance

We are members of multiple international and local multi-stakeholder platforms including the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and have adopted their Base Code to form the core of our CODE OF PRACTICE.

Based on international standards including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation’s Core Conventions on Labour Standards, our Ethical Trading Code of Practice represents our baseline requirements which work alongside local laws to ensure a minimum standard of protection is afforded to all people in our supply base in all countries.

We audit 100% of main production sites (known a “Tier 1”) and their subcontracted (process) units (known as “Tier 2”).

In 2019 we extended our audit processes to nominated or preferred trims and label suppliers (known as “Tier 3”) in Turkey. Phased roll out to other territories will re-start in early 2021.

Superdry audits act as an ongoing risk assessment to detect and respond to evolving risks on a factory, local and global scale. The audit covers all Principles defined in our Code of Practice – labour standards, ethical business practice and environmental responsibility.

Our risk framework is founded on the severity of impact vs. likelihood/scale of impact to ensure it remains focussed on worker welfare and material environmental impact. Where we identify evidence of severe Human Rights or Environmental issues, we may undertake further due diligence, using offsite assessments and unannounced investigations.

Going beyond ethical due diligence, we require factories on our sustainability leadership programme to provide independent verification of energy and resource reduction utilising industry recognised schemes including IS0 50001, LEED and IS0 140001. Factories enrolled in this programme are required to undertake a certification audit through a recognised certifier every three years.


Ethical audits

100% of Superdry factories have undertaken a semi announced ethical audit within the last 12 months.

All ethical audits for Superdry are completed:

  • Covering all social and environmental principles defined in our Code of Practice.
  • On a semi announced (minimum 4-week window) basis.
  • By independent third-party auditors to ensure audit quality.
    • More information on preferred auditors approved within each sourcing region is available on our SUPPLY CHAIN PAGE.
    • Each audit partner has an established Service Level Agreements and Key Performance Indicators with Superdry – prioritising accuracy, on time delivery and transparency.
  • In line with SMETA protocol – an industry recognised standard defining the methodology to be utilised in audit to ensure audit quality. This protocol guides auditors on worker interviews, policy and documentary checks and wider critical audit tools needed to ensure audit findings are representative and relevant.  In line with the protocol: -
    • Auditors interview between 10 and 62 people in every audit depending on factory size. All audits include active participation of male and female interviewees, and interviews are mostly completed onsite. In an average Superdry factory of 645 People, auditors’ interview 7% of the workforce.
    • Union or worker representatives are included in the audit process where possible. In 2020, 33% of audits completed included active participation by legally recognised Trade Union or Worker Committee representatives.

The outcome of each audit is an ethical grade based on the risks associated with any issue raised in line with our risk framework, and a practical action plan detailing milestones for improvement as applicable.

We re-audit 100% of Superdry production sites every 6-12 months to ensure information remains relevant, and action plans are validated and up to date.


Local Labour Standards Experts

By establishing Superdry dedicated labour standard experts in key source countries we can respond to risks quickly as they emerge. 

Each of our three key source territories have locally based dedicated labour standard experts, employed by Superdry to build partnerships based on transparent disclosure of actual working conditions and agree relevant and achievable action plans where improvement is needed.

Our local labour standards experts shadow a minimum of 15% of third-party audits at Superdry production sites and complete “Control Audits” (repeated) with dedicated external integrity auditors to check consistency in results where we have concerns.


Beyond Audit (Offsite and Specialist Assessments)

Where vulnerable groups of workers including migrants, contract workers, Syrian refugees (Turkey) and homeworkers are present in Superdry factories we ensure assessments are completed in line with our additional policies designed to protect these workers.

Alongside our CODE OF PRACTICE, these policies form a condition of doing business for our suppliers and are available in our REPORTING AND POLICIES PAGE.

Where we struggle to obtain transparency, accuracy, and clarity or where we seek feedback on improvements made in factories – we may elect to work with local community organisations and wider labour standards experts to complete offsite interviews.

This additional step often provides a further depth of results and root causes. Where we identify:

  • Ongoing concerns with transparency or critical issues (as defined in our Code of Practice) we will complete offsite, or unannounced assessments.
  • A significant proportion of Migrant Workers or Contract Workers present onsite we complete an additional assessment covering our Migrant Worker Standards.
  • Accommodation provided by the factory, or by a third-party and utilised by the factory, we will include accommodation space(s) within scope of the ethical audit. Accommodation is required to meet local baseline requirements and the standards defined in our Code of Practice and Migrant Worker Standards – whichever affords the worker the greatest protection.


Worker Representation

We intend to continue to support our factories to improve worker engagement while continuing to establish sustainable and ethically compliant management systems.

As Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) members, we recognise that supporting and respecting effective worker engagement mechanisms – from worker committees to legally recognised trade unions - can result in a positive business environment, early dispute resolution, skills development and health and safety improvements. It also drives dignity and equality through universally accepted principles.

By 2030, 100% of Superdry factories will be enrolled in our Respect programme, enabling gender empowerment and more effective representation in their workforces through committee structures. Through this programme we aim to see a positive relationship between factories with effective worker representation in place, and ethical compliance.

  • 28% of factories with effective worker committee and representative structures in place. 14% of factories we work with currently have a recognised union.
  • 3% of workers operating in our supply chain are currently covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement.



Make a Difference

While factories often share common issues, we have found that sustainable solutions are often best adopted when developed locally, in consultation with local groups.

Our Superdry dedicated labour standard experts work closely with factories to establish practical action plans, training, and capacity building with management, supervisors, and worker committees.

With the aim of building sustainable supply chains and to meet out Net Zero and Respect goals, in 2020 we launched two new programmes:


Leadership: Recognising factories that are investing in their people and sustainable workplaces.

Intensive Care: Designed for factories requiring support to maintain compliance against our standard, or at great risk of exposure due to COVID restrictions, utilising specialist local organisations.


We only approve factories that meet our compliance standard - covering all social and environmental principles defined in our CODE OF PRACTICE.  

80% of the factories that we work with have been ranked with the highest ratings of social and environmental compliance  – defined as “Blue”; “Green” or “Yellow” grade.

This also includes factories investing in sustainable workplaces through renewable electricity, ISO50001 or LEED Platinum certification – accounting for 10% of our supply base.

Factories that require support to maintain compliance in line with our standard (“Orange”) are enrolled in our Intensive Care programme – accounting for 20% of our supply base.


Additional training and support

Factories requiring support in maintaining compliance are enrolled in our Intensive Care Programme, which involves close monitoring of performance by the Head of Sustainability and Head of Sourcing, targets and milestones agreed at the most Senior Level within the factory hierarchy, additional training delivered by third party specialists or Superdry representatives and monthly visits to monitor improvement.

Factories that fail to meet targets and milestones following completion of the Intensive Care process (usually after 6 months), following a re-audit completed by an independent 3rd party auditor, are exited in line with our Responsible Exit policy.



Inform Decisions

We work closely with our commercial teams to ensure purchasing decisions are made in line with core Ethical Trading KPIs.


Commercial Team KPIs

Our sourcing team manage our supply base and are responsible for negotiating prices for Superdry product.

As part of their role, they are targeted to:

  • Only onboard suppliers that can meet our ethical and quality standards within each category.
  • Maintain an ethically compliant factory base, tracked through monthly reporting.
  • Maintain transparent production routes, contracting directly with factories. Superdry does not onboard agents for garment production.

Their targets also monitor factories which are underperforming during the relationship, requiring escalation to the Head of Department or Director of Sourcing and Sustainability.



Commercial teams are only able to place orders in factories which have been approved for production following ethical and quality visits to pre-approve factories.

All pre-approval visits are completed by Superdry representatives and assess the factory’s capacity and capability to meet Superdry’s compliance requirements. All pre-approval visits and approval recommendations are completed prior to SMS sampling.

Should a factory fail to meet our minimum compliance standard they are rejected for production, and no orders will be placed with the factory.

All factories are required to formally apply for use of Tier 2 subcontracted units prior to order placement. Tier 2 factories are limited to ancillary “value add” processes that cannot be completed in the Tier 1 site with which we have direct relationship. Local offices will then initiate the subcontractor pre-approval process consisting of self-assessment and pre-approval visits.


Ongoing business

Approval for production is upheld where factories continue to comply with ethical and quality standards.

Factories that perform at or above Superdry compliance standards are rewarded with annual capacity bookings and the opportunity to enrol on our “Self-Approval programme” - providing greater agility and lead time opportunities through sample approval timelines.


Responsible Exit Policy

Where factories fail to meet minimum requirements in line with our CODE OF PRACTICE or demonstrate insufficient improvement in line with our Supplier Manual, we will initiate a phased exit plan in line with our Responsible Exit policy.

A factory or supplier exit is only initiated following escalation to the Head of Sourcing and Head of Sustainability to ensure all possible remedial actions have been explored.

As a responsible business, our policy is that:

  • Exit will be initiated only where all possible channels for improvement have been exhausted.
  • We assess the financial and social impact of exit – based on existing business levels - and identify means to mitigate these impacts. For example, where we assess significant impact the exit time may reach 12 months to allow for the factory to plan its resources – we will scale business down over this time.
  • We will formally communicate the decision to the supplier.

Where a factory is in breach of our Modern Slavery policy or has any Critical / Zero Tolerance issues “Red Grade” and refuses to co-operate, we may elect to hold order placement or delivery and shorten the time for exit to ensure we do not continue to condone the practice. We will in these cases work with local specialists to support the impacted workers where access is possible.

Contact details for the ethical trading team is available HERE

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