Worker Wellbeing

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is most important in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is people, it is people, it is people.

— Maori Proverb

Looking after people is the most important thing we can do.

We’re committed to protecting human rights and proactively improving the wellbeing and working conditions for workers throughout our supply chain. To achieve this, we’ve evolved our approach to focus on transparency and partnership.

Recent News

  • The Ethical Fashion Guide
  • Fair Labour Accreditation

Each year, Kathmandu participates in the Ethical Fashion Report produced by Baptist World Aid Australia and Tearfund New Zealand.

The Ethical Fashion Guide grades fashion companies on ethical practices in their supply chains, giving consumers the power to shop ethically and use their voice to encourage greater transparency. It's a practical tool that can be used to reduce worker exploitation and alleviate poverty in developing countries where clothes are manufactured.

The report scores companies on the levels of visibility and transparency across their supply chain with regards to policies, transparency and traceability, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental management.   

For the second year in a row, Kathmandu scored an A. 

The report noted the improvements we have made in transparency by publishing our complete list of suppliers (below) so our customers know exactly where their products are made.

It further highlighted as best practice the steps we have taken to ensure that workers have a greater voice by improving the grievance mechanisms available to those working in our supply chain. 

In June 2018, Kathmandu became the first brand in the Southern Hemisphere to become accredited by the Fair Labour Association (FLA).

What does this mean for workers? The FLA audits and verifies our social compliance program to ensure that we are promoting and complying with international labour standards and best practices throughout our supply chain.

Our efforts are independently verified and assessed on the basis of fulfilling all of the principles of fair labour and responsible sourcing.

The FLA have completed social compliance initiatives and assessments at several of our factories. Their reports on Kathmandu facilities can be read on the FLA website.

The FLA also offers tools and resources to help companies better protect and empower their workers — including training to factory workers and management. The FLA works with companies to advocates for greater accountability and transparency throughout global supply chains.

Our goal is to set the standard for companies in Australia and New Zealand to champion workers’ wellbeing, safety and empowerment.

Our Responsibility

In many countries the laws that protect and empower workers are not adequate or simply not enforced. As a result, it’s critical for us to communicate the standards we expect of our suppliers, and to have a system in place to make sure those standards are met.

We aim to work in partnership with our suppliers to facilitate ongoing improvement that benefits both their workers and their business performance. These are just some of the measures we have in place:

Image of a factory worker in Vietnam

Supply Chain Transparency

Transparency is not just one of our core values, it’s the cornerstone of responsible business conduct.

We believe that publishing supply chain information builds the trust of workers, consumers, labour advocates, and investors, and sends a strong message that we don’t fear accountability.

Kathmandu has published a list of Tier 1 suppliers and those factories making our products.

Tier 1 are our primary suppliers who hold a direct contractual sourcing relationship for the supply of Kathmandu branded products. The list includes the name of our suppliers, the name and address of the factories we utilise, the kind of product made there, and the number of employed workers.

The list of factories accounts for 100% of Kathmandu factories making everything from apparel and footwear to packs and bags, sleeping bags and tents.

Image of the factory floor and workers in Vietnam

Living Wage vs. Minimum Wage

Kathmandu has a robust factory assessment and monitoring program to ensure that those who make our gear are being paid the legally required minimum wage. While this is a very positive step in the right direction, we know that the majority of workers in our supply chain earn less than what we would consider a fair living wage relative to their country. We therefore want to go further and do more to ensure that those wages are enough to afford a decent standard of living.

Image of a male factory worker in Vietnam
Image of a young female factory worker smiling at her sewing machine in Vietnam.

How We Measure Performance

To measure our performance on human rights in the supply chain, we’re now using the ground-breaking self-assessment tool, the HIGG Index. We’ve assessed our work using the detailed questionnaire in the HIGG’s Social/Labour Management Performance Module. This scoring criteria reinforces and guides those areas that are most important for us to focus on each year

If you have suggestions or feedback on improving worker’s rights, please contact our Corporate Social Responsibility team.

Human rights is not something we reluctantly feel obligated to consider as a necessary business risk. It’s our number one material issue reflecting the very heart of our values and brand.

Xavier Simonet, CEO Kathmandu