EK Fashion ESG Annual Report 2021

EK Fashion ESG Annual Report 2021

EK Fashion ESG Annual Report 2021


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together we make retail future-proof


Dear reader,

This is the second edition of EK Fashion's annual ESG report.

A key milestone for our team and our organisation, as together

with our partners, we have succeeded in continuing the journey

towards a more sustainable fashion sector.

The challenges regarding sustainability have definitely not

become any easier recently. The entire chain is under even more

pressure due to the pandemic and logistic issues. This shows

the vulnerability of the production and sale of clothing.

We will be able to continue to be successful in the future only

if we work together to create a more transparent, fair and

high-quality industry.

In the first phase of our ESG journey, the focus was mainly

on education and insights, such as the EK Fashion Academy.

Specific activities are now being added such as the

GreenChange Pop-up in Germany and the integration of

sustainability into our services for retailers. Our focus for the

coming period will be on the development of a tool to help

brands and retailers make their assortments more sustainable.

In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed

to the achievement of our plans and results, both within and

outside our company. Enjoy reading this second edition!

Jan Bongers

Director of EK Fashion

2 3


in a nutshell

About 900

contracted brand suppliers

in the Netherlands

About 250

contracted brand suppliers

in Germany


of tier 1 manufacturers of

men’s wear

are known


of all tier 1/2/3 producers of

Babyface are known



more sustainable






About 1100

affiliated shops

in the Netherlands

About 100

About 600

affiliated shops

in Germany


QR Codes


affiliated shops

in Austria

Certified for:


Member of:

Better Cotton

Certified for:



learning modules are live

66 employees

in the Netherlands and Germany

2 employees


training sessions conducted at

producers in India

Launch of



in the Netherlands


Member of:

Amfori BSCI


million turnover


turnover 2021 compared to 2020

4 5



2017 2018 2019 2020


Signing the Covenant on

Sustainable Clothing and


In 2017, we started to make

EK Fashion more sustainable

by signing the Covenant for

Sustainable Clothing and

Textiles for the Babyface

brand. The people behind the

Covenant supported us in

making our supply chain

transparent and in discovering

and addressing the risks in

the chain.

Creating internal support and

drafting the policy

2018 was all about creating internal

support, appointing people and

freeing up budgets to properly

carry out our sustainability task. We

asked various sustainability experts

for their advice in order to gain

more knowledge and to give the

initial impetus to the drafting of the

ESG policy.

Focus on private labels

In 2019, we actively started to

make the private labels more

sustainable. We have drawn

up new codes of conduct

(Responsible Business Conduct)

and discussed these with the

factories that organise the

production for the men's labels

and Babyface. We also conducted

a risk analysis for Babyface to

gain insight into the highest risks

in our production chain. Based

on this, we have been able to

define the five main goals.

The initially achieved objectives and

start of communication to retailers

In 2020, the first targets were achieved

for the private labels on, among other

things, more sustainable materials,

chain transparency and working

conditions in the chain. This year,

EK Fashion also presented its ESG

policy to retailers and the first

sustainability services for retailers

were set up.

Professionalisation and expansion

of sustainability services

In 2021, the initial steps were taken

to integrate ESG into all teams at

EK Fashion by setting SMART targets.

The existing sustainability services for

retailers were also further

professionalised and new services were

set up. In addition, making the private

labels more sustainable is a continuous

process of improvement, with the first

steps being taken in 2021 in the areas

of circularity and chemicals


6 7

Table of contents


EK Fashion 2021 in a nutshell 4

1. EK Fashion: together we will make retail future-proof 10

EK 12

EK Netherlands 13

EK Fashion 13

2. EK Fashion’s playing field 16

Stakeholders 18

Sustainable Development Goals 20

Interview with Alexandra Clot from tex.tracer 22

3. EK Fashion’s sustainable ambition 24

4. Deep Dive: Goals, Achievement, Follow-up 28

Buy Smarter 30

Waste Less 50

Empower Local Heroes 56

Appendix: 62

Responsible Business Conduct

8 9




10 11

Chapter 1



Since 2015, Euretco B.V. has been part of EK, a retail service organisation operational in

more than ten countries and based in Bielefeld, Germany. To be able to combine international

forces even further, since 19 April 2022, the name Euretco has become EK Netherlands.

The familiar name Euretco is dropped, but the central position as the largest retail service

organisation in the Netherlands is continued.


EK provides services to local retailers and is a purchasing

organisation, marketing organisation and competence

network in one.

EK's business model is characterised by its focus on

six strategic business segments: EK Home, EK Fashion,

EK Living, EK DIY, EK Sport and EK Books.

Around 650 employees do their utmost to support retail

partners in the best possible way. As a service provider

for independent small and medium-sized retailers,

specialist markets and department stores, one of EK's

most important tasks is to lead local independent retailers

into the digital future.

In 2021, a start was made to make ESG an integral part

of the current group strategy. ESG has been given high

priority on the management agenda. Together with

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a project is currently running

to integrate sustainability into everything we do with a broad

cross-section of the organisation. This group consists of the

board, management and ESG managers from all business

units. In phase two, the scope will be broadened from

group level to all commercial business units and in phase

three we are building on the further roll-out of ESG services

for retailers.


EK operates in the Dutch markets with the divisions

EK Fashion, EK Living, EK DIY, EK Sport and EK Books.

EK Nederland works with around 1,500 independent

retailers and franchisees. In total they run almost

2,200 shops.

Our core activities include retail, franchise, wholesale and

financial services to independent retailers. Around 300

people at EK Netherlands work with great passion to relieve

EK’s retail partners as much as possible from any burden of

tasks, both in their shops and online.

The shop formulas and floor concepts include INTERSPORT,

Runnersworld, The Athlete's Foot, Hubo, Decorette, Topform

and Libris/Blz.


In addition, through its fashion division with, among others,

Babyface, Born with Appetite, Marco Manzini, Supply&Co

and in shape, EK Netherlands offers international top brands

in the women's, men's, baby and children's clothing

segments. EK Fashion comprises about 1100 affiliated shops

in the Netherlands, about 600 affiliated shops in Germany

and about 100 affiliated shops in Austria. EK Fashion

supports them with data-driven advice, education,

up-to-date market information, private label purchasing

and more.

By bundling fashion retailers into groups, EK Fashion is

able to create an equal and confidential cooperation in

which all parties reinforce each other. We believe in a close

relationship with our affiliated retailers and brands to create

future-proof retail based on better, not on more. Independent

fashion retailers have the perfect position in this future-proof

retail by building personal customer relationships and

offering high-quality products.



Share of turnover by product division 2021

Women’s private label

We understand our business and are well versed

at it. Our complete range of services makes us

unique. Our diversity makes us a strong

international partner. No other company can offer

the added value of our multi-sector cooperation.

We are an ... Experienced Advantage Creator

We make the customer and his needs the focal

point of our actions. In addition to competitive

prices, retailers receive services that make them fit

for their future. We maintain a personal and close

relationship with our members. We are an ...

Inspiring Partner



Women’s private label


Men's private label:

With our many years of experience, knowledge

and our international structure, we are a stable

and reliable partner. Our drive to further develop

our multi-branch business, combined with our

position in the market, makes us a suitable partner

for the long term. We are a ... Safe Harbour

We are motivated and have a service-oriented

mindset. Our members are at the heart of our

company. We are a ... Passionate Service


Men's private label:



12 13


The various teams at EK Fashion work closely together to provide

a diverse range of services to retailers and brands.


We deliver exclusive collections of women's, children's and

men's clothing throughout the year to make sure that the

retailer's assortment stands out and is unique compared to

the competition.

Business Intelligence

By analysing retail data about the industry, we provide

valuable insights and forecasts regarding trends and

consumer behaviour. In combination with our unique style

matrix, we provide retailers and brands with pragmatic

solutions and assortment advice.


EK Fashion provides support to retailers in the design,

production and distribution of online and offline marketing

messages. One of the latest marketing services is the

marketing segmentation model called RFM.


For efficient omnichannel retail (OCR), all partners need to

work together on data exchange. EK Fashion is the link

between brands and retailers. We digitise and streamline

the process as much as possible by creating a standard

that can be used throughout the market. Through these

collaborations with partners in the areas of data collection,

enrichment and distribution, we are improving the retail

landscape and the chain as much as possible.

Environmental Social Governance

To achieve the sustainable ambitions and to integrate

sustainability into the daily work of all employees at

EK Fashion, an ESG team of 1.1 FTE is operational and

each team has one ESG manager.

14 15



16 17

Chapter 2


As EK Fashion, we are in close contact with all our stakeholders with whom we intend to make

Fashion retail futureproof. We are also aware of our global responsibility as an international

company with an international value chain. That is why we commit to the Sustainable Development

Goals (SDGs) which you will find more information about by the end of this chapter.



About 900 contracted brand suppliers in the Netherlands

and about 250 contracted brand suppliers in Germany work

together with us with the aim of playing retailers to their

strengths. The cooperation is based on the central payment

system, whereby EK Fashion organises payments for

retailers to brands. EK Fashion guarantees the payments

from the retailer to the brand. For the retailer, this is a great

convenience and saves time. The brand is assured of

payment within the agreed payment term. We also inform

brands about their KPI score at our entrepreneurs to

NGOs & Institutes




Agents & Producers

improve the collections. In addition, we advise brands during

assortment advice with entrepreneurs and discuss market



To create the private label collections, we do business

worldwide with producers and agents who are all part of

the production chain. Through years of cooperation, a bond

of trust has been created that helps us to achieve our

sustainable ambitions.


With tex.tracer, we are actively working on making our

supply chain traceable and transparent. Through a

blockchain-driven platform and the data that producers

provide, EK Fashion is gaining gradually more insights into

the entire chain. This enables us to make well-considered

decisions in order to be more sustainable.


Amfori is a global business association for the promotion

of open and sustainable trade. Amfori enables 2,400

companies to operate as successful, sustainable businesses

by helping them to monitor and improve the social and

environmental performance of their supply chains. Through

Amfori, EK Fashion conducts social audits in the factories

where we produce our clothes, with the aim of improving

working conditions.

Arisa is an independent non-governmental human rights

organisation committed to defending human rights in

South Asia since 1976. Arisa does this through advocacy

and policy influencing politicians and companies,

research, critical dialogue and raising social awareness

of human rights violations. Arisa and SAVE, EK Fashion is

committed to improving working conditions in factories in

India together with other clothing companies.

Social Awareness and Voluntary Education (SAVE) is a

non-profit organisation founded in 1933. SAVE runs various

development programmes to eliminate child labour, support

women and young people and promote fair working

conditions. Arisa and SAVE, EK Fashion is committed to

improving working conditions in factories in India together

with other clothing companies.

Modint is the sector organisation for manufacturers,

importers, agents and wholesalers in (company) clothing,

fashion accessories, carpets and (interior) textiles. Together

with over 400 members, Modint is building a valuable future

for our sector by making a positive contribution to addressing

relevant and social issues and by innovating and expanding

the market. EK Fashion is a member of Modint and receives

support on topics such as chemicals, impact measurement

and more sustainable material choices.

The Covenant on Sustainable Clothing and Textiles (CKT)

ran from 2015 to 31 December 2021. A broad coalition of

companies and other organisations, including Babyface from

2018 onwards, have joined forces to prevent abuse such as

exploitation, animal suffering and environmental damage.


The about 1100 affiliated shops in the Netherlands, about

600 affiliated shops in Germany and about 100 affiliated

shops in Austria are the central point of everything we do.

Retailers can cooperate with us and our network at various

levels. This varies from cooperation purely for payment

transactions to very intensive cooperation in one of the

retailer groups. We provide tailor-made solutions for each and

every one of them, based on the retailer's wishes and needs.

18 19


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 targets to make the world

a better place by 2030. They are a global compass for challenges such as

poverty, education for all and the climate crisis. The goals were established

by the United Nations in 2015 as a follow-up to the Millennium Development

Goals. EK Fashion wants to contribute to achieving SDGs with a focus on

SDGs 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 17.

Goal 1 is about eradicating all forms of (extreme)

poverty. EK Fashion contributes to this by

dedicating itself to achieving a living wage and a

safe workplace, including in parts of the world where

extreme poverty has a strong impact on lives. Learn more

about this subject on page 40.

Goal 3 is about good health and well-being for all.

EK Fashion specifically contributes to target 3.9

by encouraging producers to reduce the use of

harmful chemicals and to purify used water. Learn more

about this subject on page 44.

Goal 4 includes inclusive, equal and quality

education for all. EK Fashion contributes to this

goal with our EK Fashion Academy which teaches

retailers about sustainable business. Learn more on page 56.

Goal 6 includes clean water and sanitation for all.

EK Fashion contributes to this by encouraging

producers to reduce the use of harmful

chemicals and purify used water. Learn more on page 44.

Goal 7 is about access to affordable and sustainable

energy for all. EK Fashion contributes to this by

encouraging our member retailers to switch to

renewable energy sources and use energy more efficiently.

EK Fashion is also working on making its processes more

energy efficient.

Goal 8 includes inclusive economic growth,

employment and decent work for all. EK Fashion

contributes to this by creating jobs for the people

who make our clothes. Here, we endeavour to achieve a

living wage, ensure a safe workplace and provide equal

opportunities. Learn more about this subject on page 40.

Goal 10 includes reducing inequality within and

between countries. EK Fashion contributes to this

goal by not allowing discrimination based on

religion, belief, political opinion, race, gender or for any other

reasons at the business partners we work with. Learn more

about this subject on page 40.

Goal 12 is about sustainable consumption and

production. EK Fashion contributes to this by

producing high-quality clothing that consumers

can enjoy for a long time. We also work with more

sustainable materials such as organic cotton and Better

Cotton. These materials have less negative impact on the

environment than conventional cotton. Learn more about

this subject on page 34.

Goal 13 is about tackling climate change.

EK Fashion contributes to this by working towards

processes that emit less CO 2

and use less water,

energy and chemicals. An example is our Restricted

Substances List, a list of chemicals that we do not want to

find in our clothing. We also work with more sustainable

materials that have a smaller footprint than conventional

materials. Read more about our next steps on

pages 34 and 44.

Goal 17 includes strengthening global partnerships

to achieve goals. EK Fashion contributes to

this through its partnerships with stakeholders

such as Arisa and SAVE, with whom we carry out projects in

India on topics such as forced labour, discrimination &

gender, child labour, freedom of association, living wages

and occupational health and safety. Learn more on page 40.

20 21


Alexandra Clot

through our platform we support EK Fashion in making

the entire supply chain transparent, which means that

you as EK Fashion first of all get better insights and

secondly can take action. Of course, the platform also

supports you with the compliance modules, and therefore

it reduces your workload.

What is the strength of our partnership?

A very good example of the strength is that we have made

really big steps with EK Fashion and I think that’s because

we have the same goal and the same motivation. We're all on

the same page and we really want the industry to improve.

tex.tracer can be used as a tool to achieve this. So, I think

that at EK Fashion, this is your genuine belief, and that is why

there is progress and why things are being achieved. We

also communicate very openly and honestly with each other.

If something is not good enough with tex.tracer, then you will

let us know fair and square. Your feedback is extremely

valuable to us.

What opportunities and obstacles do you see in making

EK Fashion's value chain more transparent

There are several obstacles to getting all the suppliers in the

value chain on board. For example, the language barrier, but

also the fear that suppliers have of making mistakes and

losing customers as a result. These kinds of obstacles also

exist in other aspects of sustainability, such as obtaining a

GOTS certificate for the entire chain.

In terms of opportunities, you really need to look at the

combined strength of all the retailers. If they all demand

more transparency as well, this gives you even more power in

the supply chain and a lot of potential for new collaborations.

To bring about such collaborations, the entire industry’s

mindset really needs to change, because at the moment,

everyone is fighting for their own cause. I think that

competitors are not your enemies, but can be good allies

when you know where they make their purchases or where

they produce.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Evidently, it’s a very broad concept. For me personally, it’s

effectively about making better choices, in view of the future,

but also of the present. In order to make better choices in

fashion, I made some rules for myself: I buy little, I only buy

things that I "really" need. Then you can always ask yourself:

do you really need that T-shirt? And if I do buy something, it

is usually second-hand. If I buy something new, it has to be

high quality and have a timeless design. That way, say in ten

years’ time, I can still enjoy it as much as I do now. And then

I also do some research beforehand to see if there are

certain standards for materials and working conditions

at the brand.

Once you have done the research which several good

brands, which element of sustainability is decisive for you?

Design and quality, because I think if you buy a blouse or a

pair of trousers that are made really well from really good

materials and can last for ten years, then you will benefit

from a product longer. And the longer it lasts, the less

quickly you need something new. So I think the lifespan

is a key element.

Can you describe the collaboration between tex.tracer

and EK Fashion?

EK Fashion has joined us as a launching customer, effectively

since the start of tex.tracer. The current collaboration is that

22 23




24 25

Chapter 3



We have structured our ESG policy in 2019 around three

strategic pillars at EK Fashion. These focus on the future

generation of retailers, reducing our negative impact on

the environment and increasing our positive social impact.

Buy Smarter

Through partnerships, we aim at creating better products

with a less negative impact on the environment and that

contribute better to human well-being. We focus on five


1. Transparency in the chain.

2. More sustainable materials in the private label


3. Improving working conditions for the factory workers who

produce our private labels.

4. Respecting the environment by reducing water, energy

and chemicals.

Waste Less

We are committed to reducing our footprint by producing

less waste through co-creation and data exchange,

stimulating recycling and extending the life span of

products. We focus on three themes:

6. Produce on demand.

7. Circular entrepreneurship.

8. Efficiency in transport and packaging.

With these activities, we contribute to the following SDG’s:

Empower Local Heroes

Retailers make a difference in the transformation towards a

sustainable and prosperous fashion business. We give them,

as well as brands and our employees, full support to be

successful. We focus on three themes:

9. Increase the knowledge level.

10. Rewarding sustainable innovations.

11. Increasing employee vitality.

With these activities, we contribute to the following SDG’s:

5. Helping retailers and brands make more conscious

purchasing choices by enhancing knowledge about ESG


With these activities, we contribute to the following SDG’s:

26 27




28 29

Chapter 4










In the strategic pillar of Buy Smarter, we focus on clothes that are produced with

better sustainability. A significant first step for EK Fashion was to start making its

private labels and Babyface more sustainable. Each department, women’s,

men’s and Babyface has its own pace and goals.


To make a brand sustainable, you must first have insight into where the products are

made. If you know where your products are made, you can identify the possible risks

in your supply chain and you know the improvements that you as a company can

make. That is why EK Fashion aims at getting to the bottom of all the links in the chain.

Unfortunately, there are not yet any international standards to

make transparency and traceability measurable and

reportable. Therefore, EK Fashion, together with tex.tracer,

has drawn up standards that we use to report on traceability

and transparency. These standards consist of three levels of

traceability and transparency (abbreviated to T.T levels) and

a clear division of production processes into tiers. Defining

production processes in tiers remains complex due to the

various types of supply chains. Nevertheless, the established

tiers help to set clear goals.

T.T Levels

- T.T Level 1: the supply chain partner is known to

EK Fashion but has not yet registered with Tex.tracer.

- T.T Level 2: The concerned supply chain partner has

created a tex. tracer account. This account includes

information such as the partner's name, contact

information, address, trade register number, product

groups, etc.

- T.T Level 3: the supply chain partner has uploaded

and verified order information.











Transparency Pledge

By signing the Transparency Pledge

for Babyface in February 2021,

EK Fashion is demonstrating our

commitment to increased transparency

of our supply chain. Since May 2021

the Babyface production locations are

publicly listed on the Babyface website

and the Open Apparel Registry. Once

we will have reached the lower limit of

60% transparency in tier 1 and 2 for

the men's and women's private label

divisions, we will also make these

production locations public.


To gain a better understanding of our

supply chain, we started to work with

tex.tracer in April 2020. We can see the

production details for every entered

article: from the purchase of the raw

material (e.g. cotton) to the delivery to

our customers. All supply chain

partners enter the requested information

by themselves, such as company

information, certificates and order

data. This information is then verified

via geolocation data, time stamps,

digital confirmation between the

various links and automated checks.

In case there is any deviating input, the

system does not accept any data input.

The data is stored in a decentralised


About tex.tracer

With tex.tracer, we are effectively

making efforts to make our supply

chain traceable and transparent.

By using a blockchain-driven

platform and the data that suppliers

enter, the team at EK Fashion

gains gradually more insight into

the entire chain, which enables us

to make well-considered decisions

to become more sustainable.


- Tier 0: Logistics (transport/importers/storage), agents.

- Tier 1: Assembly factories: cutting, sewing, assembling

and packing for shipment.

- Tier 2: Processing facilities: fabric production: printing,

dyeing, washing/washing, embroidery.

- Tier 3: Processing facilities: yarn spinning, knitting and


- Tier 4: Raw material suppliers: cotton cultivation,

farming, livestock farms.

Ready-Made Garments (RMG)

manufacturers provide finished textile products that can

be bought in shops or online and are ready to wear.















30 31


On this page, you will find a schedule of the targets

EK Fashion has set for tracing our supply chain. A target has

been set for each segment, for each tier and for each T.T.

level in the form of a percentage of transparency. Each year

we want to achieve a higher percentage of transparency.

Retrospectively, we have set targets for 2021 that are in line

with the standards explained above.









The traceability targets set for 2021 for all production

departments have been half achieved. One of the reasons

that not all targets have been reached is the impact of

COVID-19 on producers. A large part of the producers

struggled to keep their heads above water during the

pandemic. For this reason, innovation and new tasks such as

working with tex.tracer had less priority.

By 2021, we will have identified all of our logistics partners

and agents and they will all have created an account for

tex.tracer. Therefore tier 0 is not included in this schedule.

For tier 4, producers of raw materials, tracing is very difficult

due to the large number of producers. That is why we have

not yet set specific targets for tier 4 before 2025.


Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 100% ✗

Level 1: 100% ✗

Level 2: 100%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 1: 100% ✗

MEN'S Level 1: 100% ✓ Level 1: 100% ✗










Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 100%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 33%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 75%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 100%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 50%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 100%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 100%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 50%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 100%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 1: 50% Level 1: 50%

Level 1: 50% Level 1: 50%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 10%

Level 1: 75%

Level 2: 10%

Level 1: 75%

Level 2: 10%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 33%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 33%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 33%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 10%

Level 1: 75%

Level 2: 10%

Level 1: 75%

Level 2: 10%

Level 1: 100% ✓

Level 2: 33%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 33%

Level 1: 100%

Level 2: 33%


In 2020, Babyface started to provide several products with

QR codes linked to data from tex.tracer. These codes were

attached to products of the brands: Babyface, in shape

(women's label) and men's private labels. When the

consumer scans the QR code, he sees the entire journey

made by the article: from the cotton field to the warehouse.

In this way, we also offer the consumer 100% transparency.

At the time of reporting, 39 QR codes are online.


As the above schedule shows, Babyface has achieved most

of its goals. The achievement of these goals is particularly

successful because of the cooperation of our agents in

India and China. In addition, personal contact with our

producers is very important, because it explains the added

value of traceability.

It has not yet been possible to get all tier 1 producers to set

up a tex. tracer account, as some producers find it requires

too much effort to set up an account or are afraid of losing

their good position in the market. Especially in uncertain

times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we noticed that

producers were even more reluctant to cooperate on the

tex. tracer platform.


In 2021, we started to explain and point out our ESG goals to

our producers. Two importers and one agent in Greece have

now set up an account for tex.tracer. We expect to achieve

the target of reducing the number of production locations

by 25% in 2022 instead of 2021. This was partly due to

COVID-19 restrictions that made travel almost impossible,

making personal contact and visits to new producers



The men's private label department did achieve the target

for 2021 for tier 1, but not for tier 2. This is mainly due to

the ignorance of producers and the amount of information

they do not understand without explanation or which scares

them off.



of all tier 1/2/3 suppliers of Babyface are known.


of Men's tier 1 suppliers are known.


QR-Codes online.



The follow-up steps for Babyface in 2022 mainly include

encouraging the tier 1 producers who have not created an

account for tex.tracer to do so. There are still five producers.

In addition, in 2022 we want to analyse all the producers we

have in mind for possible social risks. We will do this through

social audits, which you can read more about under item

three "improvement of the working conditions for the factory

workers who produce our private labels".

We will also work to increase the number of QR codes on

products, to enable more consumers to trace the origin of

the product. We aim to have all Babyface items registered

in tex.tracer by the 2022 collections.


The women’s private label department produces its labels at

factories, whereby our interests are often represented by an

agent on site. This agent organises the optimisation of the

entire purchasing and production process. Importers are

also engaged and these intermediaries make it difficult to

trace producers.

Reducing the number of producers is a key objective,

as is encouraging producers to create a tex.tracer account.

Steps have already been taken to achieve more sustainable

production by entering into cooperation with producers in

other production countries who can effect responsible

production. They meet our ESG requirements. We expect

that they will also participate in tex.tracer.

In addition, when visiting production sites, we will raise the

relevance of tex.tracer and will make efforts to overcome any

resistance that may be raised (such as privacy legislation).

To this effect, it will particularly be important to maintain

close contact with our agent in Italy.


The most important step for the men's private label

department in cooperation with the ESG team is to meet

individually with producers online to explain the significance

of tex.tracer once again. During the first appointments with

each producer, only EK Fashion employees will be present.

During the second round of appointments, our contact

person at tex.tracer will also be present to guide the

producers through the platform and the application

process. As soon as producers have created an account,

they will be encouraged to state their suppliers (tier 2/3/4)

on the platform.

32 33


An essential aspect of environmental, social and governance at EK Fashion is more sustainable

materials. The choice of materials largely determines the impact on people and the environment.

The use of more sustainable materials is a key objective for every product department at EK Fashion.

It is a step that we can take fairly quickly due to a high degree of direct influence.

To determine which materials we consider more sustainable, we use the Modint Fiber Matrix.

We consider all materials in the column from 'preferred' upwards to be more sustainable.



Cotton Recycled cotton (GOTS) Organic cotton (GOTS) Better Cotton (BCI)


cellulosic fibers

Lyocell with recycled


Refibra TM

Lenzing Autria

Livaeco by Birla

Cellulose TM

Ecovero TM

Cotton made in Africa


Cotton in conversion


Tencel TM

conventional cotton

conventional cotton

Wool Gerecycled wool (GRS) Organic wool (GOTS) Responsible Wool (RWS) Virgin wool



© Copyright Modint 2021 - the MFM cannot be circulated, printed, copied or used in any other way without

reference to Modint and use of Modint lay-out and logo. Visit www.modint.nl for more information

Mechanically gerecycled

polyester (GRS)

Mechanisch recycled


Recycled polyester from



Chemically recycled

polyamide (GRS)


(partialy) Biobased


Sorona ®

(partially) Biobased


Sorona ®

Linen Organic linen (GOTS) Linen

Hemp Organic hemp (GOTS) Hemp


Virgin polyester

Virgin polyamide

GOTS certified cotton

The GOTS quality label shows that an article contains at

least 70% organic cotton. If the label is present on the

end product, it shows that all tiers in the supply chain

that contributed to the production of the article

complies with their established social and ecological

conditions. This makes GOTS one of the leading and

most comprehensive quality labels. Babyface was

GOTS certified in 2020, meaning that when the entire

supply chain is GOTS certified, we can use the GOTS

logo on our articles. Not all links in the chain may be

GOTS certified, for example because it requires an

investment from the factory. In that case we don't use

the logo on the article. Still, we can proudly state that

our articles are made of organic cotton.

Preserving other materials

In addition to cotton, we also use a lot of polyester, viscose

and wool in our collections. We do this based on SMART

objectives and the Modint Fibre Matrix, which enables our

buyers and stylists of our brands to see at a glance which

are the more sustainable versions per material type. An

example of this is the purchase of TENCEL TM from Lenzing

by our women’s private label department for the 2021

collections and joining the Lenzing E-Branding Service.

Better Cotton

Better Cotton is a non-profit organisation that aims to

help cotton-producing communities prosper and grow

while protecting and restoring the environment. Through

Better Cotton and its partners, farmers receive training

in water efficiency, care for the health of the soil and

natural environment, reduction of the use of the most

harmful chemicals and application of the principles of

decent work. Farmers who apply this system are

licensed to sell Better Cotton. Better Cotton is derived

from a mass balance system and is not physically

traceable to finished products. See bettercotton.org/

massbalance for details.

Lenzing E-branding Service

The E-Branding Service protects the Lenzing brand

portfolio and their valid partners. It strengthens

communication and interaction between partners in the

value chain. It also provides access to support for

certifications and identification of products and

guidelines to market products with Lenzing materials.

Better Cotton and organic cotton are currently purchased

most by EK Fashion, supporting more farmers in farming

in a more sustainable way (see text boxes for further


34 35

In the year 2021, a dip in the amount of more sustainable

materials is shown in all EK Fashion collections. In 2020,

the collections consisted of an average of 28% more

sustainable materials, while for 2021 the average across

all labels is 23%. For example, for the men's collections,

the winter collection consisted of 30% more sustainable

materials in 2020, whereas the winter collection for

2021, unfortunately, did not contain any more sustainable

materials at all.


We have had to adjust the formulated objectives for the use

of more sustainable materials due to the worldwide shortage

of organic cotton. Learn more at 'achievement'.



The Babyface collections of 2021 consisted of 33% more

sustainable materials, of which 17% Better Cotton and

16% organic cotton.


The women's private label collections consisted of 24%

of more sustainable materials, of which 18% were linen,

3% Better Cotton, 2% organic cotton and 1% TENCEL .


The men's collections of 2021 consisted of 13% more

sustainable materials, namely organic cotton.

More sustainable materials

2022 Babyface



2023 Babyface



2024 Babyface













Conventional Cotton

Better cotton

Organic Cotton





Other 1

0.25 50.83 17.51 15.73 3.36 0.04 11.68 0.59 0.88


Conventional Cotton

Better cotton

Organic Cotton





Wool 2

Other 3

Conventional Cotton

Organic Cotton



Sheep's wool

Other 4

7.40 6.49 3.12 2.00 18.15 9.95 36.54 8.43 4.86 3.07 48.10 13.44 23.56 7.32 4.41 3.16

2025 Babyface







0.59% Viscose, 0.25% Acrylic, 0.04% Polyamide


0.29% Alpaca, 0.03% Cashmere, 0.01% Mohair, 0.63% Merino, 3.9% Sheep


1.30% Polyurethane (PU), 1.06% TENCEL, 0.27% Modal, 0.25% Metallic, 0.13% Elastane, 0.05% Acetate, 0.01% Lurex


1.38% Elastane, 0.85% Nylon, 0.93% Polyurethane (PU)

36 37

Organic cotton shortage

One of the causes is that, at the beginning of 2021, we were

informed by our manufacturer that for the winter collections,

we would not be able to buy any GOTS-certified organic

cotton, nor would we be able to buy organic cotton without

a certification.

The demand for organic fabrics has risen sharply worldwide

and it takes a cotton farmer on average three years to

convert to organic cultivation. This means that it can take a

long time before sufficient organic cotton is available again.

An additional problem is that in the autumn of 2020, Global

Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) discovered a large-scale

fraud involving fake organic cotton from India. Following an

investigation, GOTS identified 20,000 tonnes of cotton that

had been falsely certified as organic. With the disappearance

of the availability of organic cotton with the GOTS label,

the challenges of ensuring social conditions in the supply

chain are growing. The GOTS certificate not only verifies the

quantity of organic fibres, but also the good working

conditions in all links of the production process.

Better Cotton

We continue to invest in more sustainable materials for the

women's, men's and children's collections. EK Fashion does

not scramble for the last available ball of cotton at sky-high

market prices, but invests in the transition to more

sustainable cotton cultivation. That is why EK became a

member of Better Cotton in 2021 and has set Better Cotton

as our minimum requirement for future Babyface

collections and subsequently also for the men's and

women's collections.

Organic cotton from China

In 2021, we have been looking for partners who could help

us obtain more organic cotton. We have had discussions

with various stakeholders such as the Covenant on Sustainable

Clothing and Textiles, the Organic Cotton Accelerator

and Raddis Cotton. For the time being, these discussions

have not led to any further actions because all organisations

focus on cotton from India. We are currently buying organic

cotton again for our production in India, but our shortage is

mainly in China.



In 2021, we were able to considerably increase growth in

more sustainable materials for the Babyface collections in

2022. For example, for our New Born Capsule 'Tiny Story'

we were able to buy organic cotton again. We have also

switched all conventional cotton to Better Cotton for all our

jerseys and sweats that are produced in India. In this way,

Better Cotton supports more farmers in farming in a more

sustainable way. Based on a calculation based on the

number of items, and therefore not on specific weight, we

arrive at 52% more sustainable materials by 2022. This is

something we are proud of!

We have also made more sustainable choices in our

polyester consumption. Together with a manufacturer that

makes jackets for us, we were able to have part of our

polyester jackets made from recycled polyester for the

2022 collections.


For 2022, the focus remains on incorporating as many

sustainable materials as possible into the products.

Since raw materials such as organic cotton are sometimes

not available, this is a greater challenge. Nevertheless,

a priority is that, in addition to responsible production,

the materials used must also meet our requirements.


For the men's private label department, we will need to have

complete clarity on whether Better Cotton can be purchased.

Better Cotton has been contacted several times

about this, but due to the complexity of the ownership of the

various men's private labels, no unambiguous answer has

been received yet.

In addition, further research will have to be done into

other sources of more sustainable cotton from China.

The shortage of organic cotton with the GOTS certificate

is still causing difficulties for the private label department

in sourcing more sustainable materials. The increase in raw

material prices also has a strong negative impact on finding

affordable more sustainable options.

Recycled Materials

A specific next step in increasing the percentage of recycled

materials in the Babyface, women's private label and men's

private label collections is our collaboration with Drop & Loop

and Wolkat. Please refer to the topic 'Circular entrepreneurship'

for further information.



33% more durable materials.


24% more durable materials.


13% more durable materials.

38 39




A living wage

for a worker and their family

should provide:








EK Fashion strives to ensure that all people who work on our products have a good workplace.

The following topics are relevant to ensure such good workplaces: no child labour, no forced labour, no

sexual harassment, no violence, no discrimination, no bribery, no corruption and the presence of a living

wage and a safe and healthy workplace, reasonable working hours, freedom of association and a

complaints mechanism.

Responsible Business Conduct

These criteria are, amongst other things, included in our

Responsible Business Conduct (RBC, see appendix).

The RBC is a code of conduct that clearly describes the

standards and values for the partners in the production

chain. Producers are asked to sign and return a statement

confirming that they have read this code of conduct

and intend to observe our standards. We maintain

communications with producers about our standards and

values and discuss the areas for improvement that we can

achieve together. The producer also lets us know whether

the actions of EK Fashion impede compliance with the

standards and values.

Amfori BSCI

In addition, EK Fashion is a member of Amfori BSCI.

Through Amfori, we conduct social audits in the factories

where we produce our clothing with the aim of improving

working conditions. It is EK Fashion's responsibility to have

audits conducted by local auditors. Throughout the year, we

analyse these reports and have talks with our producers to

achieve structural improvements.

Training programmes and living wages

In October 2020, we started two projects with Babyface to

improve working conditions in factories in the Tamil Nadu

region of India. We collaborate with human rights

organisation Arisa, local organisation SAVE, FNV and the

brands Fabienne Chapot, HEMA, O'Neill, Prénatal,

The Sting and WE Fashion and our four producers in India.

Factory Support Programme

One project is the three-year Factory Support Programme in

which producers receive training on various social issues

including discrimination and gender, child labour, forced

labour, freedom of association, living wages and

occupational health and safety. With these training

programmes, producers are supported in setting up

well-performing consultative committees between workers

and management, which can deal with complaints and

develop preventive measures around any risks in factories.

Another goal is to increase workers' knowledge of labour

laws so that they can better defend their rights.

Living wage pilot in Tamil Nadu, India

The factory workers of the four producers in India are

currently participating in the training programmes of Arisa

and SAVE. These factories provide us with all kinds of

information, such as the number of temporary and

permanent employees and the turnover level among the

workers. This information is needed to set up the living wage

pilot project. For this reason, we want to start the living wage

pilot project with one of the four factories in 2023.


For 2021, targets have only been set for Babyface. In 2023,

we will also set targets for the men's and women's labels

when we will have better insights into their production


Factory Support Programme & Living Wage Pilot

2021 Babyface A living wage survey was conducted at four tier 1 producers. ✗

2022 Babyface 4 tier 1 producers have completed the training programme.

2023 Babyface 1 tier 2 producer has completed the training programme.

1 tier 1 producer has started a living-wage project.

2025 Babyface 1 tier 1 producer pays a living wage to workers.


Factory Support Programme in Tamil Nadu India

In mid-February 2021, we introduced the Factory Support

Programme at our Top Notch agency in India. After some

critical questions, an appointment was immediately made to

visit our four producers together with SAVE to introduce the

programme. All producers responded positively and agreed

to cooperate.


Number of training sessions for

senior and middle management

Number of training sessions

for factory workers

Number of training sessions

for worker committees

Milestone 3 2 6

Geethalaya 2 1 8

Coral Knitwear 3 1 -

Greyfield 2 - -

40 41

Up to April 2022, training sessions for senior and middle

management have been held at the four selected producers.

The first training sessions were well received. Arisa and

SAVE told us that such training sessions were new for the

producers and therefore highly valuable. The management

of the producers learned about the relevance of proper

planning and adapting planning and leadership to individual

workers on the shop floor. After all, not every person can

work equally hard. This has reduced the stress of the

workers in the factory.

The training was also given to factory workers and

established worker committees. The relevance of such

committees has been clearly explained and topics such as

transgressive behaviour, proper sanitation and ensuring a

good working temperature have been discussed. Finally,

the trained producers mentioned that the training contains a

great deal of information, which is why repetition is required.

With the last of the four producers, the contact was more

difficult and no steps were taken towards training the factory

workers or setting up worker committees. Unfortunately, the

visit of this last producer to SAVE did not result in further


The implementation of the training courses has proceeded

more slowly than initially anticipated, partly due to the

COVID-19 pandemic that hit India in 2021. Our agent is

keeping us updated on the current situation and its effect on

the factories and their workers. For our part, we tried not to

burden the producers too much by asking for information

that is needed to make a start with the training sessions

within the Factory Support Programme and the research for

the living wage project.

Living wage pilot in Tamil Nadu India

In 2020, we started the pilot by having talks with our agent

and the relevant factory about starting a living wage pilot

project. The factory is well organised and medium-sized

in terms of the number of employees, which makes it

manageable to start the pilot project and learn as much as

possible from it. In 2020, in collaboration with Modint, we

calculated the difference between the actual salary paid

and the living wage at the factory (see illustration). This

calculation was made based on average prices for fabric,

finishing, margins, packaging and working hours.

The result of the calculation is that € 0.50 more must be paid

per article to the supplier in order to pay the factory workers

a living wage.

For 2021, the intention was to conduct research with four tier

1 producers to roll out a living wage. This included how we

would bridge the difference of €0.50 per article and ensure

that this extra money would reach the factory workers.

We would also contact the other three producers in 2021 to

discuss a living wage as a first step in expanding the pilot.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to implement the steps

before 2021. As indicated for the project mentioned above,

the main reason for not achieving the goals is the COVID-19

pandemic. Producers in India had a very difficult time with the

crisis and as a result, many project activities were cancelled,

which delayed the roll-out of the living wage pilot. When

project activities did take place, priority was given to training

programmes to improve working conditions.

To increase the number of valid social audits, it is important

that the women's, men's and Babyface teams encourage

producers to accept Amfori BSCI's invitations. Hereto we will

have to convey the urgency to the producers through our

agents. Concerning the producers for whom EK Fashion can

initiate audits, we also have to keep a close eye on when

audits expire and when producers' factories reopen to

receive auditors.

Worker Committee

A worker committee is a group of elected workers'

representatives who are not members of any of the

registered trade unions in the sector and who deal with

workers' rights and working conditions (see ILO

Convention 135 for a detailed definition).


Living Wage WI:

Lower bound

typical family


Wage (SER):

Living Wage (source: WageIndicator)

Minimum Wage (source: SER)

Lowest paid Wage factory (BSCI audit)

Lowest paid

Wage factory


In addition, communications with the selected producer for

the living wage project in 2021 have been more difficult.

Whereas there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the project

in the beginning, that enthusiasm declined in the second half

of 2021. A partial explanation is again the impact of the

COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of which maintaining the

company has received priority to the living wage project.

Next steps

Babyface’s agent in India is making every effort to maintain

contact with the producers about the Factory Support

Programme and the living wage project. Babyface also has

regular meetings with SAVE, Arisa and Top Notch to keep

updated about the developments of both projects and to

find out how Babyface can support all parties in the best

possible way. The balance between stimulating and not

asking too much is very important. In this way, we hope to

reach our goal to have all four producers participate in the

training programme in 2022.



training courses for senior and middle management.


training courses for factory workers.


training sessions for worker committees.

42 43


Common targets for reducing water, energy and chemical

consumption have been set for all production teams.

Chemical Testing

2022 At least two shipment samples from each

tier 1 manufacturer were tested.

Overarching goals

2023 Multi-Year Policy on Wet Processes and Chemicals Use and

Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) have been


2024 There are no harmful chemicals in our finished products.

2025 CO 2

-neutral in transport and packaging.



EK Fashion intends to look after a sustainable planet. The climate on earth is changing due to the excessive

emission of greenhouse gases, use of water and chemicals by societies. For example, a lot of water,

energy and chemicals are used in the production of clothing. Dyeing and finishing textiles accounts for

17% to 20% of all industrial water pollution (source: globalfashionagenda.com). Growing cotton also

requires a lot of water.

EK Fashion has taken the first steps in reducing chemicals

by drawing up a Restricted Substances List (RSL) in 2019.

An RSL is a list of chemicals that we do not want to find in

clothing. To make sure that this is the case with regard to the

most vulnerable people, Babyface's baby products comply

with Oeko-tex and REACH standards.


REACH (EC 1907/2006) aims to improve the protection

of people and the environment by identifying chemical

substances more accurately and at an earlier stage.

This way, we can ensure that products are free of

harmful substances that pose a health risk.

Oeko-tex standard 100

Products with this certificate are free of hazardous

substances. The substances tested are: illegal

substances, legally regulated substances, known

harmful substances and health care parameters.


Although we have not set any targets for 2021 for reducing

CO 2

, water, energy and chemicals, we have been working on

many projects. EK Fashion's new ESG specialist participated

in an introductory training course on 'Wet Processing and

Chemical Management' at Modint. In addition, we have

made contact with Modint to find out how the testing of

shipment samples is done.

In addition, we have updated the 2019 RSL in 2021 to reflect

new insights on chemicals.

Next steps

In early May 2022, EK Fashion and Modint will analyse

the Babyface shipment samples for the risk of harmful

chemicals. We will select several high-risk products per

producer and have them tested. The aim is to do the same

for the men's and women's collections in 2022.

In addition, we will draw up a long-term plan with Modint on

how we can improve the wet processes and the use of

chemicals in the production of our clothing together with the

producer. Part of this will be the drafting of an MRSL.

Besides water, energy and chemicals, emissions also have a

negative impact on the environment. We are currently having

talks with several organisations that can help us calculate the

CO 2

emissions of our premises, vehicle fleet and products

(throughout the supply chain). This baseline measurement

will help us set priorities for reducing emissions and set

SMART goals.

We are aware that we are asking a great deal from our

producers, especially Babyface producers for our two social

projects with Arisa and SAVE. Follow-up steps to reduce

CO 2

, water, energy and chemicals, where our producers

are much needed, will be taken after these projects are

completed. We have chosen to do this to maintain a realistic

outlook on what we can expect from our producers and

ourselves in terms of workload.

A Manufacturing Restricted Substances focuses on all

chemical substances used in the manufacturing

process of a garment.

A Restricted Substances List only takes into account

the chemicals that end up on the finished garment.


Updated Restricted

Manufacturing List

44 45




In addition to the services that EK Fashion offers to its retailers with regard to private labels and Babyface,

EK Fashion also intends to be of added value to brands and retailers to make their business more

sustainable and consequently future proof.

Sustainability Movement Monitor (SMM)

In order to help retailers and brands make more conscious

choices, we started a partnership with Cube Retail and

Bureau Brems in December 2020. In the initial months of

2021, we developed a pilot version of a tool for multibrand

fashion retail to measure and communicate the commitment,

degree and progress of ESG of brands. The Sustainability

Movement Monitor aims to provide retailers and brands with

a reliable outline of both the degree and progress of brands'

ESG efforts. To this end, we use a broad set of measurable

criteria and targets according to scientific and international

industry standards, such as the Higg Index, the past

Covenant on Sustainable Apparel and Textiles, Good on You

and Life Cycle Assessment methods. Every year, brands

complete the Sustainability Movement Monitor questionnaire,

which is translated into eight criteria. We store this

information in a database and suppliers receive their own

ESG progress profile compared to the industry average.

The goal is to give retailers insight into the sustainability of

their assortment and opportunities to improve it over the

coming years.

Adding ESG information to online shops

We want to help retailers and their customers make better

choices by providing information on their online shops about

the material composition of products and ESG issues of

products such as working conditions and CO 2


Based on this information, a product on an online shop can

be given the label ’more sustainably’. In addition, from 2023,

we want to run a pilot in which a customer is offered more

sustainable alternatives when he looks at a product in an

online shop. For example, if a customer looks at a T-shirt

made of conventional cotton, a T-shirt made of organic

cotton will be suggested in the online shop. The ultimate goal

is that through machine learning, this more sustainable

alternative becomes gradually more accurate and is

automatically shown in the webshop.

Policy &







Transport &


Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence

aimed at building systems that can learn from

processed data or use data to perform better. The goal

of Machine Learning is to ensure that the machine

makes increasingly better predictions.




46 47


Affiliated Brands SMM

Affiliated Retailers SMM

2022 50 -

2023 150 50

2025 500 200

All products on the webshops contain

info on material composition Info about ESG proposed more sustainable


2022 50% 10% -

2023 70% 30% 5%

2025 100% 60% 30%


Sustainability Movement Monitor (SMM)

In June 2021, the first 50 brands were contacted by email

to participate in the pilot. Unfortunately, only six brands

responded by completing the questionnaire. We learned

from this that it is important to seek personal contact with

brands to explain the relevance and functions of the SMM.

In cooperation with EK Fashion's ESG team, the account

management team plays an essential role in this. We also

tried to lower the threshold for completing the questionnaire

by switching from an Excel sheet to an online questionnaire.

After reaching an agreement with Cube Retail and Bureau

Brems, EK Fashion became the owner of the SMM in the

summer of 2022. Nevertheless, the cooperation with Cube

Retail and Bureau Brems is of great significance in the

further development of the questionnaire and associated

scoring from Q4 2021 to Q2 2022. In further developing the

questionnaire, we also requested stakeholder feedback

from TOMO, Rainbow Collection, Modint, Amfori, the past

Sustainable Clothing and Textiles Covenant and Four Paws

Netherlands, among others.

Adding ESG information to online shops

The greatest challenge for adding information on material

composition and ESG is the accessibility of the information.

Brands need to add this information to databases such as

Fashion Cloud, to enable EK Fashion to retrieve this information.

Two employees (1.9 FTE) of EK Fashion are working

weekly to complete product information, because brands do

not provide complete product information. It will therefore be

quite a challenge to get additional and more complex

information on ESG available in addition to the regular

information such as size and colour.


Sustainability Movement Monitor

The necessary next steps include the establishment of

terms of use of the SMM, especially for brands, which

specify how the shared information will be handled.

Additionally, a manual must be drawn up for brands with

tools and instructions for completing the questionnaire.

The Business Intelligence team and the Omnichannel team

are also working hard on the conversion model for the

retrieved data and visualisation in a dashboard. To combine

the various data that EK Fashion collects from various

sources, EK Fashion switched from storing data in 'silos' to

storing data in a 'lake'. This technical development is not only

promising for SMM but also for other data-driven services

such as demand-driven production, which you can learn

more about in the next pillar.

In addition to the technical aspects of the SMM, EK Fashion

is analysing the willingness of brands to complete the

questionnaire. The importance of personal contact with the

brands about the SMM became clear in the pilot and will be

taken into account when contacting the brands. Finally, one

of the most important follow-up steps is of course to obtain

completed questionnaires to achieve the target of 50 brands

in 2022.

Adding ESG information to online shops

As more and more (online) retailers are asking for ESG

information, for example, Bijenkorf and Zalando, we expect

this information to become more readily available. In

addition, EK Fashion also plays a role in putting pressure on

brands to supply this information. EK Fashion is moreover

actively working on applying artificial intelligence to

automatically extract product information from photos of

products. The aim is to use this application to find out at

least the material composition, which in turn releases many

man-hours to obtain other more complex ESG information

from brands.

48 49


One of the major problems in the clothing industry is the

huge surplus of clothes. If we continue to produce at

this rate, we will reach the point where not enough

resources will be available to meet demand. The linear

economy, with its 'take-make-waste' system must give

way to a circular economy.


EK Fashion wants to use our developments in the field of data management to better predict the demand

for certain products. This will enable an even better match between supply and demand, which will prevent

overproduction. Producing according to demand is one of our main goals for the coming years.


2022 New cooperation with 2 production sites in Europe that meet our minimum ESG standards.

2023 Reduction of private label sample collections by 20%.


New production sites

In 2020, the women's private label department of

EK/Euretco Fashion started an investigation to find new

production channels that:

1. being able to produce with short production times, mainly

in Europe;

2. produce at a high-quality level (to enable longer life


3. can work according to our sustainable production

standards (as described in the RBC).

We are currently having talks with several producers in

Portugal, Greece, Morocco and the Netherlands and have

visited some of them. Together with the women’s private

label department, we have also categorised the current

producers based on future viability of our cooperation with

them. Some producers were categorised as promising to

take the ESG course with them and others as having less

potential. For the less potential ones, we see opportunities

to shift production to the new producers.

Sample Collections

For the reduction of the sample collections, targets were

initially set for 2021. Even in the ESG report for 2020, it was

indicated that these goals would not be achieved within the

target. This proved to be the case. Due to the growth of the

private labels, which is reflected in more collaborations and

expansion of collections, the sample collections of men's,

women's and children's have also grown. For Babyface this

specifically concerns an increase of 3.6% in pieces in 2021

compared to 2020.

In other words, because EK Fashion calculates the reduction

of sample collections in an absolute manner, it is an extra

great challenge to achieve the targets. If we would calculate

the number of samples relatively, i.e. the number of samples

in relation to the number of styles in a collection, we might

already have reached the set targets. However, we as

EK Fashion want to make a real effort to reduce the absolute

number of sample collections and have therefore chosen

to push the target forward instead of adapting the target to

a relative way of measuring.


Sample collections

To reduce the number of samples, the women’s and men's

departments, in cooperation with students from TMO, are

investigating how we could start working with 3D samples.

The technique for 3D sampling is already a fact of

life in fashion, but it is only applied on a small scale.

For EK Fashion, a considerable development will therefore

be required to apply this on a larger scale to reduce the

sample collections.

New production sites

The next steps for the women’s private label department in

cooperation with the ESG team consist first of all of reducing

the number of producers. Analogously, production will have

to be relocated from production sites that are less relevant to

women's production, to new sites in Europe.

50 51


We believe that transforming the current business model in the fashion industry into a circular model can

only be achieved through intensive cooperation throughout the supply chain.

In December 2020, we made the first start with this. We are investigating possibilities to process waste from

the Dutch textile waste in the private label collections of the women’s and men's departments. Because of

the temporary shop closures at the end of December due to COVID-19, we decided at that time to reduce

the number of styles in the collections for winter 2021. This has moved back the possible capsule collection

with recycled material from the Dutch textile waste belt.


2021 Each CSR ESG representative within the

production teams has completed a course on

circular design and/or circular business


2022 5% of materials in men's and women's

collections are recycled materials.

10% of the polyester used in the Babyface

jacket collection is recycled PET.

10 retailers have a textile collection machine

or box and sell products made of

recycled materials.

2023 10% of materials in men's and women's

collections are recycled materials.

50% of the polyester used in the Babyface

jacket collection is recycled PET.

50 retailers have a textile collection machine

or box and sell products made from

recycled materials.

2025 A circular business model is integrated alongside

the current (linear) business model.

100 retailers have a textile collection machine

or box and sell products made from

recycled materials.


The goal for 2021 was to have all ESG representatives within

the production departments take a course on circular

design and/or circular business models. Two Babyface

employees have effectively followed a three-day training

in June 2021. The other two CSR responsible persons have

not yet done so.

As one of the first steps towards achieving the percentages

of recycled materials in the men's collection, women's

collection and Babyface collections, EK Fashion has

been certified for the Global Recycled Standard since

January 2022.

We also contacted Drop & Loop and Wolkat who are jointly

capable of facilitating the entire chain of recycling and

production for the private labels and Babyface. After the

initial talks, we are very excited about possible cooperation!

Green Deal Circular Textiles

Sustainability Manager of EK, Mariska Schennink, joined the

steering committee of the Green Deal circular textiles in

2021. The Green Deal Circular Textiles was signed by more

than 40 companies in 2020. They agree that the Amsterdam

Economic Board in collaboration with the City of Amsterdam,

the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam Bureau and the

signatories will work for the next three years on making

textile circular. EK Fashion will contribute to the described

ambitions by making its member retailers part of the circular

challenges and by making the opportunities for retailers in

this area visible.

Business Intelligence

EK Fashion helps the retailer with a balanced purchasing

budget that is customised together with the retailer.

We use the data from the EK Retail Monitor (ERM) for this.

For example, the ratio between pre-purchase and open-tobuy

budget and the distribution of deliveries are analysed

and discussed with the retailer. In the ERM dashboard,

individual performance at brand, article group and

lifestyle segment levels can be tracked and benchmarked

on a weekly basis. This enables the retailer to make

well-considered choices and to have the right articles

delivered at the right time to sell them to the consumer.

These tools contribute to a higher return for the retailer

and minimise overproduction.


A next step for the production teams is to purchase products

with higher percentages of recycled materials such as

recycled wool, polyester and cotton.

Collaboration Drop & Loop and Wolkat

In addition, we will continue to discuss with Drop & Loop and

Wolkat the development of products from recycled materials

for the private label and Babyface collections. In collaboration

with Drop & Loop and Wolkat, we have established two

'tracks' on which we will collaborate at product level. On the

one hand, the production departments of EK Fashion will

purchase products from Wolkat's current catalogue, such as

fashion and home accessories. However, these products are

not the core of the production departments' collections, but

rather are special additions on a small scale or to give away

as promotional gifts. On the other hand, a commitment has

been made to jointly develop clothing that will become part

of the core collections of the private labels and Babyface.

This is where EK Fashion's expertise in fashion design and

the needs of retailers and Wolkat's expertise in developing

recycled fabrics converge.

A third part of this cooperation includes encouraging

retailers that are affiliated with EK sales to place a collection

machine or collection box in their shop. At the EK Fashion

festival in 2022, special attention will be paid to this and after

the event, the collection machine and collection box of Drop

& Loop will be shown in the Showrooms of EK Fashion. In

this way, EK Fashion wants to enthuse retailers for collecting

textiles and selling products from recycled textiles in their

own shops by using the collection machine or collection box

from Drop & Loop and Wolkat. In this way, EK Fashion makes

an actual commitment to complete the recycling loop.

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary standard that sets

requirements for the certification of recycled raw materials and the third-party chain of

custody. GRS includes the following targets:

• Alignment of recycled definitions across multiple applications.

• Verification of recycled content in products.

• Provide consumers (both brands and end users) with a tool to make informed decisions.

• Reducing the harmful impact of production on people and the environment.

• Providing assurance that products are processed in a more sustainable way.

• Encourage higher percentages of recycled material in products.

52 53


The collections of EK Fashion are mainly produced in Asia. This means that a long way has to be travelled

to transport the items to the Netherlands. In addition, also transport takes place to points of sale. To protect

the products during transport, plastic bags (polybags) and boxes are put around the products. EK Fashion

is committed to reducing the negative impact of these processes.

In May 2022, EK Fashion switched to Hartevelt as its new logistics partner. We are enthusiastic about the

cooperation because sustainability is also Hartevelt’s priority item.




2021 Drawing up a sustainable logistics policy.

80% of Babyface's polybags are made of

recycled plastic.

10% reduction in CO 2

emissions from


2023 100% of Babyface's polybags are made of

recycled plastic.

10% Reduction of impact of packaging

material of private labels.

Partly because our priority was the materials of the products

and EK Fashion has a new logistics partner, not much has

been achieved in this area. However, EK Fashion has been

working on various pilots and we have asked external

stakeholders for advice to make progress in the areas of

transport and packaging.

Packaging private labels and Babyface

The men's private label department conducted a test in 2021

to investigate whether alternative materials to plastic are

suitable as packaging materials. In this first test, paper bags

were used instead of polybags and this was a positive

experience! In addition, Babyface has partially purchased

polybags made of recycled plastic for the collections in

2022. The ESG team has also asked Modint for advice on

packaging materials.

Sustainable logistics policy

In 2022, EK Fashion, together with our new logistics partner

Hartevelt and other stakeholders, intends to draw up a plan

on how EK Fashion can make the transport of products more

sustainable. Modint is also an important stakeholder in this,

because Modint can provide more information about the

footprint of products with their newly launched collaboration

with bAwear. EK Fashion has had initial talks with Modint on

this and is planning to conduct a pilot with at least one

product in 2022.

Part of the logistics policy will involve measuring current

emissions. Hartevelt has already taken various steps to map

out the impact of logistic processes. EK Fashion would

therefore like to enter into a conversation with Hartevelt on

how we can outline and reduce our impact.

Packaging private labels and Babyface

The goal for the men's private label division is to scale up the

use of paper instead of plastic as packaging material.

Babyface will also scale up by using recycled polybags.

Hartevelt can play a role in this process if it is possible for

polybags and/or hangers made of recycled material to be

used in their processes. Naturally, we aim to share the

findings of pilots and upscaling between production


54 55


EK Fashion believes in the power of independent fashion retailers who use

their expertise and with personal attention and an eye for quality to help the

consumer to make conscious choices: not more, but better. With the distinctive

position of the independent retailer, the retailer is able to make a considerable

contribution to making the fashion industry more sustainable. We give him full

support to be successful.


Creating awareness is the first step in mobilising people to become more sustainable. Subsequently, we

offer tools to take action. EK Fashion wants to do this in two ways: the EK Fashion Academy and offering

POS materials to raise consumer awareness.

In 2020, we established the EK Fashion Academy (EFA). The EK Fashion Academy offers physical

training courses and a website with both online learning modules and a knowledge base for the fields

of sustainability, marketing and business intelligence. The academy is intended for retail owners, buyers,

fashion consultants on the shop floor and our own employees.

In addition, in their contact with brands and retailers, account managers give personal advice on

sustainability and refer to the ESG team of EK Fashion or external partners of EK Fashion.



Specifically, the following sessions took place:

• Drawing up the ESG policy with the owners of Van

Tilburg and Berden in cooperation with Rainbow

Collection and EK Fashion.

The joint first physical session laid the foundation for

Van Tilburg's ESG policy and Berden's ESG policy.

In an online session, both companies were given the

opportunity to receive feedback on their plans from

Rainbow Collection and EK Fashion. The final session

in which both companies will pitch their ESG policy will

take place in Q2 of 2022.

• Two physical training sessions at Van Tilburg with

twelve buyers about more sustainable purchases

under the guidance of Rethink Rebels and EK Fashion.

The buyers learned more about what sustainability

means in clothing, which questions they can ask brands

about sustainability and what the most important

sustainability labels are for clothing.

• Various awareness sessions at EK Fashion retailer


EK Fashion's ESG team visited five retailer groups in

2021 to give an introductory presentation on sustainability

and to talk with retailers they would like to engage with

on sustainability. Due to COVID-19, it was not possible

for the ESG team to give more presentations.

All in all, in 2021 the ESG team mainly realised that

awareness is still lacking among many retailers, which

is why, among other things, the EFA is still little used.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic may also

have contributed to the sparse use of the EFA;

retailers prioritised survival of this short-term crisis

over sustainability.

2022 25 retailers have taken an online or offline

training from the EFA.

2023 100 retailers have taken an online or offline

training from the EFA.

30 retailers purchase POS materials for

consumer awareness.

2025 200 retailers have taken an online or offline

training from the EFA.

100 retailers purchase POS materials for

consumer awareness.

Since the launch of the EK Fashion Academy, around ten

external participants and around eighty internal EK Fashion

employees have joined. The launch included five lessons on

sustainability and a new lesson on circular business models

will be added in 2021.

The German part of EK Fashion also started building a

German version of the EFA in 2021. The current content was

taken as a starting point and the German colleagues entered

into a partnership with Staff Solutions to bring the EFA to an

even higher level.

In addition to the activities of the online Academy, there have

been several physical meetings to create awareness within

retailer groups, work on retailers' ESG policies and train

shop staff.


One of the most important next steps for EK Fashion is to

offer physical training sessions to retailers who have shown

an interest following the awareness sessions. One of the

account managers is in contact with various retailers about

this. In addition, one new training module or one knowledge

base item will be published on the EK Fashion Academy

website per month.

Promotion of the full width of EFA will be conducted by the

account management and marketing team. All channels

will be used, such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn,

newsletters and personal contact.

POS material

EK Fashion's marketing team will need to develop POS

materials, leaving room for incorporating retailers' branding.

Several requests were made by retailers in 2021 to develop

POS materials for ESG initiatives in their businesses.

The marketing team can build on this.

56 57


To encourage a movement towards sustainability in the Dutch retail landscape, it may help to put

frontrunners in ESG in the spotlight. Therefore, starting in 2023, we want to highlight and reward

a retailer and a brand on EK Fashion's social channels every month.

We also want to fully integrate ESG in all communications and events of EK Fashion, both in the

Netherlands and in Germany. This could include a new standard section in a newsletter and inviting

more sustainable brands to trade fairs. Specifically for the Brand Guide of EK Fashion, we want to integrate

more sustainable brands per style segment. The Sustainable Movement Monitor can help to determine

such more sustainable brands.


GreenChange Pop-up

The first GreenChange Pop-up opened at May Fashion.

Brands like Greenbomb, Alma&Lovis and Feuervogl are

included in this pop-up. Also, at Kaufhaus Sämann in

Vaihingen, a GreenChange Pop-up was opened and the

sales staff received training on the sustainable history of

these brands and products in the pop-up. In the branches of

Kaufhaus Woha, even two pop-ups have been opened! The

GreenChange Pop-up was the subject of a great article in

the German magazine Textilwirtschaft. Definitely worth

reading! (Read the English version here).


The marketing teams in the Netherlands and Germany will

have to create marketing content in cooperation with the ESG

team to be able to highlight and reward retailers. This will

require visits to retailers and interviews with retailers. In

addition, the account managers will have to strengthen the

relationships with more sustainable brands and possibly

include new more sustainable brands in the EK Fashion

brand portfolio. In addition to the defined goals for expanding

the number of more sustainable brands in the brand portfolio

of EK Fashion, even more specific goals will be set for

highlighting more sustainable brands in 2022.

GreenChange Pop-up

One of the most specific forms of highlighting brands is the

GreenChange Pop-up store, accomplished by EK Fashion

Germany. The shop-in-shop concept with a surface area of

25m2 offers a defined and eye-catching stage in the shop

for more sustainable brands.

Together with KOHLSCHEIN from Viersen, Germany, a

cardboard modular pop-up concept was created. When the

module is no longer needed, it can be returned to the normal

paper recycling cycle.

New plastic was completely dispensed with for the coat

hangers. Grass hangers from the company Cortec from

Wald-Michelbach were used. The hangers are made from

regional grass fibres and recycled plastic, most of which

come from old coat hangers. This reduces the carbon

footprint by up to 64% and the grass hangers can be

recycled at Cortec itself. The metal parts are recycled

separately by a recycler and are also returned to the metal

production process. Again, a perfect recycling cycle has

been thought out.


2022 1 highlighting and rewarding retailers for

sustainable performance.

1 highlighting and rewarding brands for

sustained performance.

5 more sustainable brands added to the

brand portfolio.

5 GreenChange Pop-up stores set up.

2023 12 retailers highlighted and rewarded for

sustainable performance.

12 highlighting and rewarding brands for

sustained performance.

5 more sustainable brands added to the

brand portfolio.

12 GreenChange Pop-up stores set up.

2025 12 retailer uitlichten en belonen om duurzame


12 highlighting and rewarding brands for

sustained performance.

5 more sustainable brands added to the

brand portfolio.

23 GreenChange Pop-up stores set up

58 59


When our employees enjoy going to work, this will have a positive influence on our customers.

We believe it is vital that every employee feels good about himself, both physically and mentally.

That a job feels safe and comfortable, and also provides enough challenge for the employee and

the organisation for further development.


In May 2021, we took the first step towards a policy for

sustainable employability for the Fashion division. A survey

among all Fashion employees showed that work-life balance

and career development opportunities are considered the

most important pillars for which employee and employer are

jointly responsible. Physical health is regarded by the

employees as a more personal responsibility.


The HR department has various plans to make sustainable

employability a pillar for the entire EK. In this way,

EK Fashion benefits from the joint activities. In 2022, goals

will be set for sustainable employability.

In 2021, employees worked a great deal from home, due to

the measures taken during COVID-19. The work-life balance

has become an even more important item as a result.

Some employees believe their work-life balance has

improved because of working from home, whereas others

have deteriorated. Now that we are working more hours at

the office again, a plan has been set up for hybrid working

to promote structure and cooperation. In addition, the

workspace in Hoevelaken will be thoroughly restyled

in the coming weeks to improve cooperation, promote

creativity and adapt the office spaces to the various

activities of the day.

60 61

Appendix: Responsible Business Conduct EK Fashion

Appendix: Responsible Business Conduct EK Fashion

EK Fashion, May 2021

As a major retail service organisation in

Europe, it’s our job to pursue a profitable

and sustainable retail industry. We care for

our collections, the materials and the full

supply chain related to our carefully

selected garments. We aim for long term

relations with our business partners to

co-create the most beautiful product, but

also to take care of the people involved. We

want to get insight in the social and

environmental impact of our products and

work on improvement where needed.

Transparency of production places and

circumstances are of great importance.

EK Fashion has a responsible purchasing

policy based on social and environmental

criteria for the supply chain based on

international standards, conventions and

guidelines. Working in compliance with all

applicable laws and regulations on human

rights, the environment and product safety

is of great importance, but international

standards are leading if they are more


We ask all our suppliers and

subcontractors, from raw material to end

product, to support us in our corporate

responsibility program and to work

according the standards below.

1. Our common responsibility – Due


Under the UNGPs 1 and OECD Guidelines 2 ,

enterprises bear a responsibility for

preventing and reducing any adverse

impact on people and the environment by

their own operation or business

relationships in the production or supply

chain. This means acting in an ethical and

transparent way that contributes to the

health and welfare of society. This is the

baseline for our Due Diligence policy

integrated in our corporate responsibility


EK Fashion supports the Conventions of

the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

and expects suppliers to act in accordance

with the conventions of the ILO. These

conventions are, along with the relevant UN

Declarations and the OECD guidelines, the

basis for our responsible business conduct.

We have identified nine specific themes by

mutual agreement and in discussion with

stakeholders which currently merit the

priority attention of enterprises in the

garment and textile sector operating in the

Netherlands in terms of international

responsible business conduct (RBC).

These themes are, in no particular order:

1. Discrimination and gender;

2. Child labour;

3. Forced labour;

4. Freedom of association;

5. Living wage;

6. Safety and health in the workplace;

7. Raw materials;

8. Water pollution and use of chemicals,

water and energy;

9. Animal welfare.

We added, based on the ILO and OECD

guidelines for the garment and footwear


• Working hours

• Ethical trade, no bribery and corruption

• No Sexual harassment and sexual and

gender-based violence (SGBV) in the


• Grievance mechanism

We will do our due diligence and give

particular attention on these themes and we

expect this as well from our suppliers. This

means that, with regard to these themes,

suppliers will identify any possible adverse

impact in the supply chain, set specific

objectives and take measures which are

suitable in the light of the insights resulting

from their due diligence process.

We ask you to inform us about any possible

risk regarding human rights violation, animal

abuse and environmental hazards related to

our products to cooperate to minimizing

these risks. To identify these risks, we

prepared a questionnaire and kindly ask

you to fill out and send back to us.

Our buying behaviour

We are part of the value chain and

therefore we want to take our responsibility

regarding sourcing and buying. It is very

important to inform us when our buying

behaviour does not support the

international social and environmental

standards set below. We work according to

the following buying strategy:


We will particularly ask for long-term

contracts to increase predictability and

stability. This will also enable suppliers to

plan for investments in machinery,

equipment and human resources.

We will:

• work on a stable planning.

• Share forecast and purchasing plan

with our supplier and, if possible book,


• Allow to start production early for

NOOS styles

• Communicate changes in your forecast/

purchasing plan on time.

Product development:

• provide clear technical specs and


• Ask our supplier for feedback on new


• Review our sampling process with

efficiency in mind

• Work with photo’s/online video when

possible or consider virtual prototyping

• Supply a target price for the product

Price negotiation:

• Get insight in price calculations and the

production process

• Calculate in cooperation with our

supplier and getting help to get the

best quality for the best price.

• Consider material cost, labour,

transport, testing, audits and the profit

for the supplier

Payment conditions:

• Pay on time

• Pay what we agreed on Order

placement, production, lead time

• We have a time & action plan with


The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights

abuses committed in business operations. http://www.ungpreporting.org/


The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from

adhering countries. They provide non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a global context consistent with applicable laws

and internationally recognized standards. http://www.oecd.org/corporate/mne/

deadlines for all contributors (buyer and


• We agree on realistic lead time

• We make an agreement on late style/

order changes

• We work on understanding the local

and cultural differences

2. Social & Environmental Compliancy

The responsible business conduct aims to

attain compliance with certain standards.

Supplier companies, in addition, must

ensure that the responsible business

conduct is also observed by subcontractors

involved in production processes of final

manufacturing stages. Within the scope of

options for action and appropriate

measures, supplier companies have to aim

at the implementation and reporting of the

following criteria in a development

approach. EK Fashion declares that we will

only work directly with subcontractors 3 that

are prequalified through the same rigorous

processes to those used for direct

contractors. Approved subcontracts may

be reviewed on a semi-regular (e.g. annual)

basis to remain approved. Workers of those

sub-contractors should have access to

grievance mechanisms, similar to those of

direct contractors. We ask for transparency

to know where our products are made and

to be able to ask questions regarding social

and environmental conditions.

2.1 Social Compliancy

Below written the most important ILO

conventions related to human rights at the

work floor.

Prohibition Child Labour and working

conditions of young workers ILO

Conventions 10, 79, 138, 142 and 182 and

Recommendation 146.

There shall be no use of child labour. “The

age for admission to employment shall not

be less than the age of completion of

compulsory schooling and, in any case, not

less than 15 years.” “There shall be no

forms of slavery or practices similar to

slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of

children, debt bondage and serfdom and

forced or compulsory labour. [...] Young

workers [in the age of 15-18] shall not

perform work which, by its nature or the

circumstances in which it is carried out, is

likely to harm their health, safety or morals.”

Children and young persons under 18 shall

not be employed at night or in hazardous


Where young workers are employed,

business partners should ensure that the

kind of work is not likely to be harmful to

their health or development; their working

hours do not prejudice their attendance at

school, their participation in vocational

orientation approved by the competent

authority or their capacity to benefit from

training or instruction programs.

Business partners shall set the necessary

mechanisms to prevent, identify and

mitigate harm to young workers; with

special attention to the access young

workers shall have to effective grievance

mechanisms and to Occupational Health

and Safety trainings schemes and


Child Labour Due Diligence Bill

By signing this RBC you take part in our

Due Diligence Policy and you approve that

you will do anything you can to identify,

prevent and if necessary address the issue

of child labour in our supply chain.

We need to comply with the Dutch Law on

Child labour Due Diligence on combating

child labour in global supply chains, that

comes into force as of January 2020. Dutch

companies and their supply chain business

partners will have to declare that they have

addressed the issue of child labour in their

supply chains. This law requires companies

to identify, prevent and if necessary

address the issue of child labour in their

supply chains. We ask our suppliers to

cooperate and be transparent about subcontractors

and sub-suppliers and possible

risks within the supply chain of our products

so we can cooperate in combating child

labour. Risk studies show that the severe

risks are mainly at cotton farming and wet

processing (like spinning mill) stage.

EK Fashion’s ESG Manager, needs to be

informed in high risk situations, for example

when cotton comes from countries or

facilities where forced labour is required

and so the risks on child labour occurs. Ask

your suppliers about their social

management systems, latest audit reports

or certifications like WRAP, SA 8000, Fair

Trade, GOTS, Better Cotton or Organic

Content Standard, or any other standard

that entails Child labour.

Prohibition of Forced and compulsory

Labour and Disciplinary Measures ILO

Conventions 29 and 105.

There shall be no use of forced, including

bonded or prison, labour. All forms of

forced labour, such as lodging deposits or

the retention of identity documents from

personnel upon commencing employment,

are forbidden as is prisoner labour that

violates basic human rights.

Prohibition of Discrimination ILO

Conventions 100, 111, 143, 158, 159, 169

and 183.

No discrimination shall be tolerated in hiring,

remuneration, access to training, promotion,

termination or retirement based on gender,

age, religion, race, caste, birth, social

background, disability, ethnic and national

origin, nationality, membership in workers’

organisations including unions, political

affiliation or opinions, sexual orientation,

family responsibilities, marital status, or any

other condition that could give rise to


No Sexual harassment and sexual and

gender-based violence (SGBV) in the


Our business partners are encouraged to

adopt a zero-tolerance policy on sexual and

gender-based violence and strict measures

against sexual harassment in its own

operations. The enterprise should articulate

its expectations of suppliers and other

business partners to likewise adopt a policy


Subcontracting to third parties is a fairly common practice at many stages of the garment supply chain. Subcontracting enables an enterprise to respond

quickly to short lead times and changes in orders, to specialize in certain tasks. Outsourcing, however, can also decrease transparency in the supply chain

and has been demonstrated to increase the risk of human rights and labour abuses and environmental impacts in higher-risk contexts. Therefore the due

diligence measures that EK Fashion should take to mitigate these risks should be increased. Source: OECD due diligence guide

62 63

Appendix: Responsible Business Conduct EK Fashion

on sexual harassment and sexual and

gender-based violence. Enterprises are

encouraged to include the following in their

internal policies

• a commitment to foster an environment

at work free from harassment, bullying

and violence

• clear consequences for breaking the

enterprise’s standards

• a commitment to hear grievances, to

provide a “reprisal-free” complaints

mechanism (e.g. operational-levelgrievance

mechanism) and to maintain

the confidentiality of workers or

employees who raise complaints

Freedom of Association and the Right to

Collective Bargaining ILO Conventions 11,

87, 98, 135 and 154

The right of all workers to form and join

trade unions and bargain collectively shall

be recognised. The company shall, in those

situations in which the right to freedom of

association and collective bargaining are

restricted under law, facilitate parallel

means of independent and free association

and bargaining for all workers. Workers’

representatives shall not be the subject of

discrimination and shall have access to all

workplaces necessary to carry out their

representation functions.

Payment of a living wage ILO Conventions

26 and 131

Wages and benefits paid for a standard

working week shall meet at least legal or

industry minimum standards and always be

sufficient to meet basic needs of workers

and their families and to provide some

discretionary income. Deductions from

wages for disciplinary measures shall not

be permitted nor shall any deductions from

wages not provided for by national law be

permitted. Deductions shall never constitute

an amount that will lead the employee to

receive less than the minimum wage.

Employees shall be adequately and clearly

informed about the specifications of their

wages including wage rates and pay period.

EK Fashion works with its suppliers to make

salaries transparent and to establish living

wages that are paid to employees to provide

for the basic needs of the employee and his

family. Together, we formulate measurable

goals and draw up an action plan.

Working Hours ILO Conventions 1 and 14

and ILO Recommendation 116.

Hours of work shall comply with applicable

laws and industry standards. In any event,

workers shall not on a regular basis be

required to work in excess of 48 hours per

week and shall be provided with at least

one day off for every seven-day period.

Overtime shall be voluntary, shall not

exceed 12 hours per week, shall not be

demanded on a regular basis and shall

always be compensated at a premium rate.

Safe and healthy working conditions ILO

Convention 155

A safe and hygienic working environment

shall be provided, and best occupational

health and safety practice shall be

promoted, bearing in mind the prevailing

knowledge of the industry and of any

specific hazards. Appropriate attention shall

be paid to occupational hazards specific to

this branch of the industry and assure that

a safe and hygienic work environment is

provided for. Effective regulations shall be

implemented to prevent accidents and

minimise health risks as much as possible.

Physical abuse, threats of physical abuse,

unusual punishments or discipline, sexual

and other harassment, and intimidation by

the employer is strictly prohibited.

No Sandblasting

EK Fashion does not accept the sandblasting

process being used for our products, since

this is affecting the health of workers.

Legally binding employment relations

Obligations to employees under labour or

social security laws and regulations arising

from the regular employment relationship

shall not be avoided through the use of

labour-only contracting arrangements, or

through apprenticeship schemes where

there is no real intent to impart skills or

provide regular employment. Younger

workers shall be given the opportunity to

participate in education and training


Ethical trade: no bribery and corruption

Enterprises should consider the good

practices put forth in the OECD Good

Practice Guidance on Internal Controls,

Ethics and Compliance, which includes:

• Strong, explicit and visible support and

commitment from senior management

to the company’s internal controls,

ethics and compliance programmes or

measures for preventing and detecting

bribery, including the bribery of foreign

public officials;

• A clearly articulated and visible

corporate policy prohibiting bribery,

including the bribery of foreign public

officials; and

• Oversight of ethics and compliance

programmes or measures regarding

bribery, including the bribery of foreign

public officials, including the authority to

report matters directly to independent

monitoring bodies such as internal audit

committees of boards of directors or of

supervisory boards, is the duty of one

or more senior corporate officers, with

an adequate level of autonomy from

management, resources and authority.

Grievance mechanism

EK Fashion needs a commitment to hear

grievances from workers, to provide a

“reprisal-free” complaints mechanism (e.g.

operational-level-grievance mechanism)

and to maintain the confidentiality of

workers or employees who raise complaints.

For example Amfori has an online grievance

mechanism at their website. It provides a

platform for individuals and organizations to

submit a grievance if they feel they have

been negatively affected by amfori’s

activities. The amfori secretariat will review

the External Grievance Mechanism process

where necessary to continuously improve

the grievance handling procedure. We ask

Amfori to remind workers of their rights and

this online grievance mechanism. 4

2.2 Environmental Responsibility

Suppliers should assess significant

environmental impact of operations and

establish effective policies and procedures

that reflect their environmental responsibility.

They will see to implement adequate

measures to prevent or minimise adverse

effects on the community, natural resources

and the overall environment.

EK Fashion asks suppliers to have

procedures and standards for the use of

water and energy, handling and disposure

of chemicals and other dangerous

materials, waste management, emissions

and effluent treatment. The procedures and

standards must meet at least the minimum

legal requirements.

No use of energy of non-renewable

sources and minimizing Green house Gas

(GHG) emissions

Suppliers shall keep records of the current

energy sources and emissions and reduce

the use of energy of non-renewable

sources. Targets will be set to work with

green energy sources and thus reduce

emissions to air.

The consumption of energy of nonrenewable

origin is one of the main causes

of greenhouse gas emissions. The

production of textile and garments is an

energy intensive process. Measuring GHG

emissions is a critical first step to reducing

the carbon footprint of an enterprise’s

activities. It helps an enterprise to assess its

impact on the climate and to design

cost-effective emission reduction plans.

• Establish an energy management plan

at the site-level that includes companywide

coordinated measures for energy

management. We ask our suppliers to

measure, report and minimize their

energy consumption and GHG

wherever possible.

• Also, we do encourage our suppliers to

make use of renewable energy sources

like wind- and solar energy. We ask our

supplier to research and use

technologies which use less energy, like

LED lightning.

• Implement best available techniques

(BAT) as defined by Best Available

Techniques Reference Documents for

the sector or sub-sector 3 5 .

Implement energy efficiency measures (e.g.

energy conservation technology,

optimization of steam generation and

pressurized air, waste heat recovery

from waste water and waste gas,

process optimization, etc.)

• Implement energy conservation

measures (e.g. implementation of

energy saving through improvements in

the process and reaction conditions)

• Increase efficiencies and quality so as

to reduce need for re-processing due

to failures

• Install and operate accurate meters

and/or measuring software as a

fundamental step to benchmarking

performance and to initiating efficiency


Limitations to water use and clean waste


The supplier shall measure water use and

determine whether it can source from water

stressed areas responsibly – for example,

by promoting water efficiency and/or

reducing process dependence on fresh

water amongst its suppliers. Waste water

must be treated and tested before releasing

to the environment. The supplier shall

comply to national waste water legislation.

Throughout the production of textiles, a lot

of water is used. In general, most water is

used for cotton cultivation (2/3 or more of

the total volume). Textile processing uses

far less water but causes most water

pollution. This puts great pressure on the

availability and the quality of water in areas

where cultivation and processing take

place. Water use, the source and waste

water in the wet processing also deserves

serious attention, because of the local

pollution impact.

• We ask our suppliers to deliver a

(waste) water policy, testing procedure

and/or a copy of one of the standards.

We ask our suppliers to provide, (LCA)

data on water, energy and chemicals

and emissions. Use the ZDHC (Waste

Water) guidelines and the Unido water

calculator: https://watercalculator.dnvgl.


• We want to be informed about the water

source (rain, groundwater, lake, etc)

• We would like to offer suppliers more

information on a cleaner production

process through the ZDHC, OECD

guidance or MODINT Factsheets which

we could provide to you.

No hazardous Chemicals

No hazardous chemicals shall be used in

processing stage and released in water or

air. Employees shall be protected and

equipped with the right safety measures

and appropriate training. Chemicals shall

be stored and labeled accurately.

Chemicals are used everywhere in the

production of goods. Apart from the

pesticides and fertilizers in the natural fiber

production, the ‘big’ issue, mainly in the

textile chain, is the use of chemicals in

bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing

and how it effects workers, water and air


• Design phase: The base of the use of

chemicals use lies in the design choices.

We ask our business partners to inform

us if any design decision leads to the

use of hazardous chemicals.

• Manage and report production phase:

From there it is important for our

company to know which specific

chemicals are used (chemical

inventory) and how they are used in the

processing. The use of harmful chemicals

during these stages of production

could be harmful for the environment

and the workers and may leave traces

in the final product and thus appear to

the consumer.

• Make a Chemical Risk assessment: An

environmental or human health risk

assessment includes hazard

identification, hazard characterization,

exposure assessment and risk


The first two steps are regarded as the

process of hazard assessment. The

methodology of the environmental risk

assessment should align with OECD

guidance. See OECD Environmental

Risk Assessment Toolkit 6 .

The methodology of the health risk

assessment should align with the World

Health Organization guidance. See

International Programme on Chemical

Safety, WHO Human Health Risk

Assessment Toolkit: Chemical Hazards 7 .

Health risks are also addressed in Module 5,

Occupational Health and Safety.





64 65

Appendix: Responsible Business Conduct EK Fashion

Restricted Substances List (RSL)/

Manufacturing Restricted Substances List


The restricted substances list (RSL) in annex

1 is intended to inform our suppliers on

international (upcoming) regulations

restricting or banning the use of chemicals

in apparel products including accessories

attached to garments for example zip

fasteners, buttons, etc. and packaging

materials. The RSL takes most of the world’s

regulations into account (incl. REACH, POP),

as well as harmful chemicals listed by NGO’s.

• We ask our suppliers to purchase

materials without harmful substances.

Please inform your fabric- or yarn

supplier about the RSL and risk matrix

where chemicals are related to certain

raw materials and processing steps

and inform EK Fashion about test

results based on risk assessments.

• If the supplier buys directly from

chemical agencies make sure it are

firms with a CR management system.

• Make use of the (ZDHC)MRSL (https://


It is there to provide suppliers with a

harmonized approach to managing

chemicals during the processing of raw

materials into the readymade fabric

within our supply chain. The MRSL

achieves this by providing a clear list of

priority chemicals and specifying the

maximum concentration limit of each

substance within commercial chemical


• We ask our suppliers to inform us about

wet processing management (of sub

suppliers) to eliminate hazardous

chemicals from our products, to keep a

chemical inventory and to work with

Material Safety Data Sheets for workers.

Inform us when you/sub suppliers

cooperates with ZDHC, SAC (Higg

Index) or Amfori BEPI.

• Implement best available techniques

(BAT) as defined by Best Available

Techniques Reference Documents for

the sector or subsector. See Integrated

Pollution Prevention and Control, Best

Available Techniques Reference

Document for the Textiles Industry,

2003) 8 .

Valid Processing standards

A valid health OEKO-TEX® Standard 100

product certificate covers most of legal

requirements of this RSL. Processing

standards are of higher value, like: GOTS,

Blue Sign or Step (or similar). These

standards, in the annex, make sure that that

no harmful chemicals are used in


• When commercially acceptable, we ask

our suppliers to work as much as

possible with one of the following or

similar standards and to provide us with

a copy of the scope and transaction


• It is important to work with accredited

audit organisations ( e.g. by textile


Raw Material Policy

EK Fashion wants to lower the impact of her

raw materials. Cotton is one of the most

polluting fibres and very important for our

collections, therefore we want to work with

the better, low impact options.

• We ask our suppliers to keep records

on the content and source of our raw


• To source for sustainable or preferred

raw materials (indicated in annex 3) and

offer alternatives to conventional


• It is important to measure, reduce and

reuse material waste where possible.

In annex 4 we listed standards and

certifications, related to sustainable raw

materials like organic- or recycled cotton,

which aims to reduce the impact during

cultivation and/or processing of textile

fibres. The standards and certifications

cover the fibre production phase which

impacts water-, chemical- and energy use,

effluents and possibly labour conditions.

They do not cover the finishing substances

used, e.g. dyes that are included in the

processing standards.

• We ask our suppliers to offer available

sustainable raw materials and to use/

ask for one of the following or similar

standards and to provide us with a copy

of the scope and transaction

certificates or other proof of compliancy.

Valid raw material certifications

In annex 4 we listed standards and

certifications, related to sustainable raw

materials like organic cotton, aim to reduce

the impact during cultivation and

processing of textile fibres. The standards

and certifications cover the fibre production

phase that has impact on water, chemical

and energy use and labour conditions. They

do not cover the finishing substances used,

e.g. dyes that are included in the

processing standards.

• We ask our suppliers to use one of the

following or similar standards and to

provide us with a copy of the scopeand

transaction certificates.

Animal welfare

We ask suppliers of wool, silk, leather,

down and feathers and any other animal

derived fibre:

• To prevent, reduce and eradicate

animal suffering in the production or

supply chain.

• To provide animal welfare guarantees

when products of animal origin are


• To follow below provision guidelines

where animals are concerned in our

supply chain:

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by

ready access to fresh water and a diet

to maintain full health and vigour.

2. Freedom from Discomfort - by providing

an appropriate environment including

shelter and a comfortable resting area.

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease -

by prevention or rapid diagnosis and


4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour -

by providing sufficient space, proper

facilities and company of the animal’s

own kind.

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress - by

ensuring conditions and treatment

which avoid mental suffering.

Endangered Species Policy

EK Fashion does not accept any raw

materials from any endangered species as

listed on the IUCN Red List 9 , as critical

endangered, near threatened, endangered,

extinct in the wild, or vulnerable on the

IUCN Red List. Therefore, suppliers must

provide animal welfare guarantees when

products of animal origin are used.

EK Fashion does not accept Real exotic

animal skins (incl. snake, alligator, crocodile,

lizard and ostrich).

Fur -EK Fashion does not accept animal fur

Silk - EK Fashion does not accept silk from

moth that have been boiled alive.

Animal hair (e.g. Cashmere, Angora,

Mohair) - EK Fashion does NOT permit that

hairs are collected from animals in an

animal-unfriendly manner (see guideline


• We ask our suppliers to provide a third

party certificate that proofs good

animal husbandry.

Leather - Real leather and suede from

sheep, pigs, goats and cattle reared for

meat production & synthetic leather are

accepted. All other leather variations are

NOT permitted!

• We prefer leather processed through

facilities rate by Gold, Silver, Bronze by

the Leather Working Group or facilities

STeP by OEKO-TEX certified.

Down Feathers Policy - EK Fashion does

not accept Down/Feathers from live-plucked

birds and from force fed birds. EK Fashion

only accepts Down/Feathers from meat

production and prefers Down/Feathers that

are certified to the Textile Exchange

Responsible Down Standard.

• Our business partners must submit a

declaration or certificate guarantee that

all Down filled garment/items are

Non-live plucked down.

Wool & Mulesing Policy - We endorse the

IWTO- standards for animal welfare and

demand that the Five Freedoms for Animal

Welfare must be respected. Mulesing is a

surgical procedure carried out on (mainly

Merino) sheep to prevent flystrike.

EK Fashion only accepts wool from

sheep that have not been mulesed and

prefers wool that is certified to the textile

Exchange Responsible Wool Standard.

Recycled wool, certified according to

the recycled wool standard could be a

solution to prevent mulesing.

Man-made Cellulosic Fibres Policy - EK

Fashion does not accept products (Viscose,

Rayon, Modal and Lyocell) deriving from

illegally logged sources, ancient and

endangered forests, as listed in the IUCN

Red list as critical endangered, near

threatened, endangered, extinct in the wild,

or vulnerable. EK Fashion prefers

sustainably certified wood products (e.g.


Packaging - Since plastic is nonbiodegradable,

recycling is a part of global

efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream,

especially the approximately eight million

metric tonnes of waste plastic that enter the

earth’s ocean every year. Soft Plastics are

also recycled such as polyethylene film and


• We ask our supplier to actively research

and offer options which are a better

choice for the environment: Reusable,

recycled and/or reduction of packing


Plastic - We ask our suppliers to use

preferred plastics for our products and

packaging like recycled plastics and

biodegradable plastics (see GRS

certification) of e.g. PLA (corn sugars).

Cardboard - We ask our suppliers to use

recycled or FSC/PEFC certified cardboard.

We aim to only use cardboard and paper

packaging which consists of 100%

recycled paper fibre.

Waste reduction - We ask our suppliers to

reduce (raw) material wase as much as

possible and preferably join a recycling

program (packaging waste, material cutting

waste etc.)

3. Management System, Monitoring,

documentation, verification

The supplier company shall define and

implement a management system to ensure

that the requirements of the Responsible

Business Conduct can be met.

Management is responsible for the correct

implementation and continuous

improvement by taking corrective measures,

as well as the communication of the

requirements of the RBC to all employees

and subcontractors. It shall also address

employees’ concerns of non-compliance

with this Code of Conduct. EK Fashion will

be informed about non-compliances and

follow up.

• If the buying behaviour of EK Fashion

impacts the compliancy to this RBC we

will be informed immediately.

In our accompanied questionnaire we will

ask you to provide us with sufficient

information to prove the origin and

sustainability of our products. If you have

any questions please let us know.

The requirements in the Responsible

Business Conduct are requirements that we

want to achieve together. These are our

common goals. We are open for discussion

if suppliers are not capable to meet these

requirements. We are certain that many of

our suppliers have even higher demands of

themselves. Therefore, we want you to

provide us with the relevant certifications

and reports to confirm this. By signing this

RBC statement, you commit yourself to it.

The undersigned hereby confirms that:

We have read the Responsible Business

Conduct (RBC) and accept the terms

required of us as suppliers and will inform

and cooperate with our subcontractors and

sub suppliers working on products of EK

Fashion. We will inform EK Fashion and

discuss non- compliances and the issues

involved in their product’s supply chain.


https://www.oecd.org/env/ehs/risk-assessment/environmental-risk-assessment-toolkit.htm 7 https://www.who.int/ipcs/methods/harmonization/areas/ra_toolkit/en/




IUCN Red List: Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on

the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. See https://www.iucnredlist.org/

66 67

EK Fashion wants to communicate the steps we take towards a more

sustainable world and how we progress in doing so in a transparent

way. We hope that this annual report contributes to that. If you want to

receive more information on the services we offer and about our

journey to sustainable entrepreneurship, then please do not hesitate to

contact us.

EK Fashion

Koninginneweg 1, 3871 JZ Hoevelaken, The Netherlands

Contact: sustainability@ek-retail.com

EK Fashion is a trade name of Euretco B.V.

Copyright: Nothing from this publication may be multiplied and/or published through photocopies, film, or in any other fashion,

without the prior consent given by Euretco B.V. Euretco B.V. cannot be held responsible for any errors that this report may contain.

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