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Corporate and Social Responsibility

Corporate responsibility is important to Hobbs. We are committed to responsible business practices both in our own business and within our supply chain. Human rights, higher labour standards, respect for the environment and animal welfare, alongside fairness and transparency are at the heart of our sourcing principles. Our sourcing principles set out our minimum requirements for product manufacture and best business practice. We are keen to work in partnership with suppliers and manufacturers, and will only work with those who share our business values.

Our supplier Code Of Conduct outlines our expectations regarding the conditions under which our products should be manufactured.

Hobbs is a foundation stage member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). Members of this leading organisation commit to an internationally recognised Code of Labour Practice that they expect all their suppliers to work towards. The code addresses issues relating to employment rights, working conditions and wages. Members submit an annual report on their ethical trading activities and ETI evaluates their performance.

We actively engage with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that we are supported and kept up to date as we drive the business forward in terms of our ethical stance.

Environmental Management & Sustainability

At Hobbs, we are committed to making a positive, real and sustainable impact on the broader community by adopting environmentally responsible policies.

We believe it is essential that as a company and as individuals, we should operate in an environmentally conscious manner.

We are keen to promote sustainability with an emphasis on reducing resource used in manufacture, driving for reuse, and an increase in recycling.

Suppliers, their subcontractors and business partners must comply with environmental rules, regulations and standards applicable to the workplace, the products produced and the methods of manufacture. They must also observe environmentally conscious practices in the locations where they operate and in the materials they use.

Our environmental criteria are important to us and therefore this environmental policy will be assessed equally alongside our other policies.

Our commitment

  • Compliance to all relevant legislation to prevent pollution, to reduce and recycle waste, wherever possible. We recycle at our Head office, Distribution centre and in our stores.
  • Compliance with all relevant local and national legislation, regulations and codes of practice, with regular reviews to ensure continued improvements and best practice.
  • Working with contractors and suppliers to support them in managing their environmental impact responsibly.
  • Promoting environmental impact awareness throughout our business and encouraging appropriate actions by all.
  • Seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of our stores, Distribution Centre and Head Office and minimising the environmental impact of transporting our products.
  • Setting and regularly reviewing objectives and targets to facilitate continual improvement with regard to our environmental impact.​

Animal Welfare

We require all our suppliers to adhere to our standards and requirements by actively following and engaging in our policies regarding animal welfare.

We aim to promote the safe and humane treatment of animals used in the production of our products.

  • Leather should be sourced in an sustained responsible manner, in accordance with our responsible sourcing of leather guidelines
  • No products in full or part are to be sourced from endangered species from the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) or IUCN
  • No real fur or pelts are to be used in any Hobbs product
  • No feathers or down should be used in any Hobbs product due to the potential risk of feather and down coming from unaccredited sources. Hobbs only allows synthetic feathers or fillers in its product. This has been a practise since autumn winter 2014 orders.
  • Leather & skins must only be obtained as a by – product and not for the sole purpose of the slaughter of an animal.
  • Animals should not be harmed either during farming methods or by the collection of their wool, feathers or hair.
  • Angora rabbit hair should not be used for Hobbs products
  • We aim to promote the humane treatment of animals used in the production of our garments. In light of the recent investigation into the mohair supply chain, we have decided to ban mohair. In line with our sustainability agenda, we will however continue to honour our existing commitment with our existing suppliers, with the fibre being completely phased out by 2020.
  • Merino wool cannot be used or purchased from sources that still practice mulesing.
  • Suppliers will be asked to provide the wool source to ensure they meet our requirements and ensure safe and good sheep husbandry methods. Details should include the full Latin name of the animal and the name of the region of origin of the animal.
  • Hobbs Ltd prohibits the use of Astrakhan/Karakul or any other leather/skin products which are the product of unnatural abortions.
  • Hobbs Ltd does not accept any Leather/skin products obtained from live skinning or live boiling of animals.
  • Farms and abattoirs must slaughter humanely with high animal husbandry compliance and in accordance to the recommendations on animal welfare set out by the OIE in their Animal Health Codes.
  • Hobbs Ltd will only use shell products originating from non-endangered species.
  • Hobbs Ltd will not include ingredients, formulations or products from suppliers that have been party to animal testing for cosmetic purposes.
  • All cosmetic product and ingredients must be approved by the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) under the Humane Cosmetics Standard.
  • Hobbs Ltd vendors and suppliers are required to give full assurance and commitments that all the policies stated within the Hobbs Ltd Animal Welfare Policy are strictly adhered to, without exception.

Human Rights

Hobbs adheres to all legislation relating to employment rights and equal opportunities, with particular reference to non-discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, marital status, disability or sexual orientation.

We ensure that we maintain the highest level of integrity with regard to employees, customers and all others with whom we interact. We recognise the value that our employees create for the business and our commitment to learning and personal development, together with remuneration policies, are designed to reward achievement and emphasise the importance of retaining employees.

Hobbs will not tolerate discrimination, bullying or any other kind of harassment within our business community. The concept of ’respect’ forms part of our values and is one of our guiding principles. Employees are expected to abide by company rules and to be honest and considerate in their various roles.

Internal procedures have been established to report grievances or suspected inappropriate behaviour to other individuals or organisations. Equally the company will treat dishonest actions and accusations seriously; this may result in disciplinary action in accordance with company rules and disciplinary procedures.

We have the same high expectations of our suppliers and manufacturers, for more detail please refer to the section on Supplier Code of Conduct.

Ethics & Values

Hobbs People Values articulate how all Hobbs employees should behave at work and form the basis for all recruitment, retention and development strategies.

Hobbs fully complies with the Bribery Act 2011 and does not give or receive any bribes, extra contractual gratuities, inducements, facilitation fees or similar payments. An approval process with set limits is in place for any gifts, whether in cash or kind, received by employees or the company in the course of normally accepted business.

Health & Well-being

We recognise our responsibility to ensure the well-being, safety and welfare of our employees and customers to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for all of our employees and visitors. We understand that health and safety has positive benefits for the company and that a commitment to a high level of safety makes good business sense. As a business function, health & safety must continually progress and adapt to change. Health and safety is considered at the highest level in the company with the ultimate responsibility resting with the board. The H & S Committee led by the HR Director meets quarterly to consider all aspects of Health & Safety across the business and is made up of a number of senior employees and an external H & S consultant. A full report is presented annually to the Board. Policies and procedures are independently reviewed to ensure compliance with best practice and with the relevant health and safety legislation.

Fair Operating Practices

Hobbs has an established supply base having built relationships with suppliers who share our business values to proactively manage their social responsibilities and ethical trade in partnership with Hobbs.

Hobbs Global Sourcing Principles set out the minimum requirements for a supplier to do business with Hobbs. They are based on the Ethical Trade Initiative code of conduct designed to be fair, and achievable, covering the principles of international law for best practice in rights at work: No forced labour, no discrimination, no child labour shall be used, the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, living wages are paid, working conditions are safe and hygienic, working hours are not excessive, regular employment is provided, no harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed. Hobbs recognises the fundamental importance of operating to a high ethical standard of business practice through transparent and fair means. All direct suppliers are required to complete a questionnaire agreeing to abide by our Global Sourcing Principles and the Code of Conduct contained therein.

To verify the Supplier Questionnaire and general standards, Hobbs employees will visit or instruct an Independent IRCA (International Register of Certified Auditors) Associate Auditor to visit any manufacturing site involved in the manufacture of Hobbs products. Where appropriate, an agreed programme of improvement may be implemented to encourage sustained improvements and best practice protocols by suppliers and associated manufacturing sites.

In the event of serious breaches of our Code of Conduct, consistent and on-going non-compliance, Hobbs will terminate its business relationship with the supplier concerned.

Involvement and development

Hobbs has a high level of involvement with a number of charities which support women and children across both the UK and Internationally.

Hobbs collaborates with SmartWorks a UK charity which helps to get women back into paid employment by providing support with a capsule wardrobe, styling and interview advice. As a result of SmartWorks 60% of the women that they have helped have gone on to accept a job within a month of the support.

In addition Hobbs supports UK charities who work with both women and children within the UK, Women’s Aid and Action for Children and LMB who work with communities in Africa to generate incomes and self-sufficiency.

In addition Hobbs works with The Wellbeing of Women, a charity that raises money to improve Women’s health through research, training and education, by holding events in our flagship stores to raise money for the charity. As a business we encourage our teams to support local charities and many of our stores hold money raising events.

Hobbs also continues to support British Design and fabric manufacturing through activities such as:

  • Supporting The Campaign for Wool, initiated by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles.
  • Supporting and mentoring British design talent through collaborations with Universities throughout the UK.
  • The development of heritage fabrications made in British fabric mills.
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