Inditex's Code of Conduct for Manufacturers and Suppliers can be found on the company’s website.
Inditex’s website describes the work the company is doing on living wages. This is primarily work on collective bargaining arrangements for workers. While useful, these programmes do not appear to involve any steps to assess wage levels in supplier countries and monitor whether Inditex is paying suppliers enough for it to be possible for workers to receive a fair wage. Inditex’s website states:
‘Living wages is a concept considered by the International Labour Organization to be one of the fundamental human rights required to achieve "universal and lasting peace", as established in the text of the ILO Constitution of 1919.
‘The Code of Conduct for Manufacturers and Suppliers of Inditex considers a decent wage to be that which is "enough to cover basic needs at the very minimum and those others that could be considered reasonable additional needs of workers and their families."
‘In collaboration with its stakeholders, Inditex implements various programmes that aim to guarantee that living wages are paid to workers in its supply chain. These programmes mainly involve capacity building for workers to allow collective bargaining to take place with the participation of all the required stakeholders to ensure effective social dialogue.’
Inditex’s website provides some information on the locations of suppliers but does not provide a full address list for all factories.
Inditex’s website provides information on the company’s programme for monitoring and auditing its supplier factories against the company’s ethical code. It states:
‘All suppliers that form part of the Inditex supply chain are frequently subjected to CSR audits carried out by local Sustainability teams of Inditex or specialised external auditors… These audits consist of facility inspection, documentary due diligence (management systems, payrolls, work hour ledgers, production records, employee documentation, permits, etc.), verification of waste management, emissions and water and energy usage, and interviews with factory managers, employees, union representatives and health and safety staff, among things.’
However, the company’s website does not provide any information on whether any of its ethical audits are unannounced.
Inditex’s Annual Report 2015 provides information on the company’s latest factory audit results.
When we asked Inditex about this, their response indicated that they do have some such mechanisms in place but these are not universal. They told us in an email dated 12 April 2012:
‘Yes, we have put in place different initiatives in this sense in several markets/countries, with characteristics adapted to the specific conditions of each one.’
Inditex’s website states:
‘To guarantee compliance with these values, Inditex devotes significant time and resource to overseeing its entire supply chain. Inditex not only monitors the companies it deals with directly but also those manufacturers and facilities that its suppliers source from, whatever their tier within the supply chain, to ensure that all the facilities used in the production of its products adhere to its stringent Code of Conduct. It does this in the belief that this rigorous audit process is a highly effective way of monitoring and improving conditions for all workers.
In 2015 Inditex launched its Closing the Loop campaign, through which customers were able to start recycling unwanted clothing in some stores. Inditex is now promising to roll this project out further.
P.62 of Inditex’s Annual Report 2015 describes the work the company is doing to increase the use of organic and sustainable cotton in its garments:
‘During 2015, we placed 34 million items of clothing using certified 100% organic cotton onto the market. This translates into a consumption of 4,219 tonnes of organic cotton and represents an increase of 318% by weight from last year. As a result, we have become the world’s ninth biggest consumer of organic cotton…
‘In addition, Inditex works closely with international initiatives, such as Textile Exchange and Better Cotton Initiative, on projects to support farming communities in India and China.’
Inditex’s website describes the commitment the company has made to end the discharge of hazardous chemicals in across its supply chain by 2020 and the work the company is doing in this area.