We want our partners to feel like an extension of our team, so strong personal relationships are key. When we look for new suppliers, our cross-functional teams visit locations to see with their own eyes how things are being managed on the ground. We’re only interested in working with the best of the best. Our partners must not only be manufacturers of the highest quality, but top notch people and employers too. We discuss our requirements and values in person with every potential partner.
Every new supplier has to acknowledge and commit to our supplier code of conduct before we start business together. Our supplier code of conduct is aligned with the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards as well as the Ethical Trade Initiative.
Since we’re still a relatively small company, we know our suppliers personally and over the years we’ve built strong partnerships.
For us, this is much more important than blindly conducting audits. Industry experiences shows us there’s a real audit fatigue out there. Audits just don’t change mindsets anymore. Factories are facing lots of audits from lots brands, all checking for same, very similar standards.
We take a different approach. Instead of asking for duplicate work, we focus on working closely with our partners to constantly raise the bar to the next level. We conduct an initial assessment with every supplier to make sure they’re meeting the required social and environmental standards. After that, we visit the production sites several times a year to discuss potential challenges and opportunities directly. We also try to reduce the number of audits being conducted at our factories and accept audits from other brands, provided they are aligned with our standards.
As On grows, we’re also looking into joining industry collaborations like the Social Labour Convergence Program (SLCP). We’re currently assessing all possibilities to make sure we find the program that will be the best long-term fit for On.
We recognize that common industry issues like excessive overtime are the responsibility not only of production sites, but the clients like us too. We’re the ones setting the production deadlines. We work very hard to avoid excessive overtime at our production sites. Our planning teams work very closely with our suppliers to forecast in advance and flatten demand during periods of peak production.