POLICIES & COMMITMENTS
At ELK we are committed to sourcing our products and materials responsibly, with respect for people, animals and the planet.
We have developed the following policies and commitments to support our ethical and environmental goals and communicate our requirements along our supply chain.
We are proud to be signatories to a range of multi-stakeholder initiatives working to improve working conditions, reduce environmental impact and increase transparency in the fashion industry.
Unsafe working conditions, environmental degradation and human rights abuses can exist hidden and unchallenged in opaque supply chains. Improved visibility supports greater accountability. When supply chains are transparent, workers are better able to assert their rights, brands can better manage risks and address poor practices in their supply chains, and consumers can know how and where the products they buy are made.
As part of our commitment to supply chain transparency, we are aligning our supply chain disclosures with the Transparency Pledge and ensuring that our published factory lists meet the requirements of Open Data Standard for the Apparel Sector (ODSAS).
We will continue to regularly publish a list of all sites manufacturing ELK product, including factory names, addresses, parent company, type of product made and worker numbers.
Our published supplier lists go beyond the Transparency Pledge standard, and include additional details such as gender breakdowns, audit dates and length of relationship. We also publish details of our key suppliers from tiers 2–4, including fabric and yarn mills, tanneries, dyehouses, printers and laundries.
Our global supplier lists have been uploaded to the Open Apparel Registry since June 2021, and we are proud to be contributing to this important open data set.
Click here to download our current supplier list.
PACK4GOOD POSITION STATEMENT
To support our commitment to sourcing more sustainable paper-based packaging, we have joined the Canopy Pack4Good initiative.
We are proud to be working alongside Canopy and the other participating brands to meet the shared goal of ensuring our paper-based packaging does not include fibre sourced from Ancient and Endangered Forests by the end of 2022.
We are committed to protecting forests by increasing the use of recycled fibre and smart design for our packaging and shifting our supply chain towards next generation solutions.
Click here to read our Pack4Good Position Statement
AUSTRALIAN PACKAGING COVENANT ORGANISATION (APCO)
OUR 2025 PACKAGING COMMITMENTS
• All ELK packaging must be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
• At least 60% of paper fibre content must be recycled or from Next Generation solutions and 100% of virgin paper fibres must be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
• At least 50% recycled content will be used across all ELK packaging.
• All problematic or unnecessary packaging, including single–use plastic packaging, will be phased out.
• We will move from single–use formats towards reuse models where possible.
We are applying the principles of the APCO Sustainable Packaging Guidelines to all new and existing packaging, to reduce environmental impact and ensure our packaging remains safe and fit for purpose.
Click here to read our latest APCO Annual Report and Action Plan
FOREST FABRICS POLICY
As signatories to the CanopyStyle campaign, we are committed to sourcing our man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCFs) responsibly. The MMCFs we work with include viscose, rayon, lyocell, acetate, and cupro. Our Forest Fabrics Policy sets out our commitment to ensuring these are not coming from Ancient and Endangered Forests and are processed using methods that are safe for people and the environment.
Click here to read our Forest Fabrics Policy
As signatories to the Cotton Pledges Against Forced Labour, we will not knowingly source cotton from Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan due to known human rights violations and forced labour in these supply chains.
We recognise the improved circumstances in Uzbekistan, through the work of the Cotton Campaign coalition, resulting in the lifting of the Uzbek Cotton Pledge. Although significant progress has been made with the end of state-imposed forced labour in the harvest of cotton, human rights and labour risks remain. Currently we are still not sourcing Uzbek grown cotton and will continue to review these risks over time.
Additionally, due to the growing awareness of the treatment of the local Uyghur (Uighur) and Turkic minority Muslim populations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in China, and forced labour in the local cotton supply chains, we will no longer source cotton that is grown or processed in this area. This extends to other materials and other types of production.
We continue to monitor these issues and adjust our sourcing as required.
SUPPLIER CODE OF CONDUCT
We have developed a Supplier Code of Conduct (Code), based on the principles of the Ethical trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, which outlines our minimum requirements for doing business with ELK. All core direct product suppliers have agreed to and signed this Code.
THE KEY PRINCIPLES OF OUR SUPPLIER CODE OF CONDUCT INCLUDE:
• Employment is freely chosen
• Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
• Working conditions are safe and hygienic
• No child or forced labour used
• Living wages are paid
• Working hours are not excessive
• No discrimination is practised
• Regular employment is provided
• No harsh or inhumane treatment is used
• Environmental stewardship is demonstrated
• Chemicals are managed responsibly
• Animals are treated humanely
• Ethical business standards are upheld
• No subcontracting without the consent of ELK
We use third-party audits to monitor factory compliance with the ETI Base Code and ELK Suppler Code of Conduct. As members of Sedex, our preferred audit format is SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), but we also accept other equivalent formats such as Amfori BSCI. The auditors must be current members of the Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA).
For any areas of non-compliance, our first approach is to work with our suppliers on improving their processes, rather than exiting, as this provides the best outcome for workers and the environment. If there are significant breaches of the Code and / or a supplier fails to improve over time, we will look to end the business relationship.
Click here to read our Supplier Code of Conduct
We define a living wage as a wage that is earned in a standard working week of not more than 48 hours, that affords a decent standard of living for the workers and their family. A living wage should cover adequate food, housing, healthcare, clothing, transportation, energy, water, childcare, education and allow for discretionary spending and saving for unexpected events.
We are committed to ensuring that the people who make our products are paid a living wage. While wages have been increasing over recent years and our factories all pay legal minimum wage or higher, living costs have also increased and we recognise that in many parts of the world there is a gap between minimum wage and a living wage. Flow on impacts of this to workers and their families include hunger, debt, poor living conditions, and not being able to access healthcare and education.
The issues around living wages are complex, and achieving
them will require close collaboration between brands, factory owners, managers,
governments, unions and NGOs.
As we develop our living wage roadmap, we are referencing Oxfam’s 'A Sewing Kit For Living Wages' guidelines.
ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY
We are committed to protecting the welfare of animals and ensuring they are treated humanely and with respect.
All animals within our supply chain must be provided the internationally recognised Five Freedoms:
• Freedom from hunger and thirst
• Freedom from physical discomfort
• Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
• Freedom to express normal behaviour
• Freedom from fear and distress
We do not use fur or farmed fur, angora rabbit wool, mohair or exotic skins in any of our products.
We do not support the practice of mulesing and all wool sourced must be non-mulesed.
We do not use any materials from vulnerable or endangered species which appear on either the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) lists.
Click here to read our ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY
ELK has a Restricted Substances List (RSL) which our suppliers are required to adhere to. It details the chemicals that must not be used in the manufacture of our products and is based on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) and relevant Australian and international safety standards.
This list includes banned azo dyes, skin sensitizing dyes, per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs), chlorobenzenes, formaldehyde, alkylphenols (APs) and alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), organotin compounds, phthalates, chlorinated solvents, chlorophenols, short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), flame retardants, and heavy metals (chromium VI, lead, mercury, nickel, and cadmium).
We recognise that this is just one step towards ensuring no hazardous chemicals are used in our supply chain, and we will work with our suppliers to ensure that any chemicals used in the production of ELK products meet these standards.
Click here to read our Restricted Substances List