Response by Hugo Boss
Thank you for message and your questions concerning the recent report on working conditions in the textile sector in Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Ukraine, published by Bread for the World and Clean Clothes Campaign. HUGO BOSS also works with suppliers in the mentioned countries, which is already published on our corporate website. This includes the two suppliers in Croatia and Bulgaria mentioned in the report.
As a leading premium fashion brand, HUGO BOSS has responsibility for a complex global value chain and upholds high sustainability standards. A responsible business conduct with all our partners is hence of great importance. HUGO BOSS therefore strives for long-term, trustworthy relationships with our suppliers. We work with our strategic partners for an average of 11 years.
To become a HUGO BOSS partner, suppliers have to undergo a standardized onboarding process. This includes signing the HUGO BOSS Social Standards, which are based on internationally recognized standards such as the core conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The social standards include equal opportunities and humane working conditions, appropriate compensation, the prohibition of child and forced labor, freedom of association, and the right to form trade unions. When selecting new partners, HUGO BOSS starts to verify with social audits that they meet the social standards. These audits are repeated regularly. Together with our suppliers, we develop corrective action plans. The implementation of these plans is reviewed in follow-up audits. Training courses organized by HUGO BOSS help suppliers to comply with the standards. If there is a lack of cooperation and repeated violations in follow-up audits, the company will terminate the relationship with a supplier as a last resort.
We have not yet been able to verify the accusations made in the report. In order to check whether the described circumstances correspond to reality, a careful review is necessary. We are therefore currently in close contact with the suppliers on site to investigate the actual situation and to examine in detail the allegations contained in the report. Should the allegations prove to be true, these suppliers would violate the HUGO BOSS social standards, which form the basis of all our business relationships. Accordingly, as described above, we would initiate measures to work together to find solutions and make improvements on site.
This is in line with the fact, that HUGO BOSS continuously strives to further develop our commitment towards good and safe labor and social conditions, also at our supply chain partners. Therefore HUGO BOSS has become an active member with several, well renowned multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Fair Labor Association (FLA).
We would be happy to update our feedback once we have more information on the circumstances described in the report.