We require all our supply chain partners, whether they are providing products or services, to agree with our Responsible Business Principles as set forth in the North Authentic Ethical Trading Code of Conduct Policy. The Ethical Trading Code of Conduct is underpinned by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code.

Our Ethical Trading Code of Conduct sets out the standards we uphold in relation to our own employees and for our supply chain partners to uphold in relation to their employees. Targets to promote fair and responsible employment practices have been set and integrated into the performance objectives of our sourcing teams as well as at an individual level. Existing as well as potential new suppliers are audited against international labor standards, which is particularly important in places where local labor laws are weak, absent or poorly enforced.

To ensure compliance with our Responsible Business Principles, our ethical trading program comprises announced and unannounced audits, monitoring and improvement program, and covers all finished goods vendors, sub-contractors and key raw material suppliers. Audits consist of a site tour focusing on health and safety, documentation review and worker interviews. A representative sample of workers are selected for interview, including, where relevant, union representatives, first aiders and migrant workers. Audits are repeated periodically to monitor ongoing compliance and continuous improvement. The frequency of audits depends on a factory’s performance, with high-performing factories audited less frequently.

Living Wages referred to in the Ethical Trading Code of Conduct are defined by the following principles:

  • A Living Wage should be calculated by reference to the income an individual needs to earn to live a decent life (where basic standards of living are met) and to participate fully in society
  • The Living Wage for any country should be set by reference to local living standards and needs
  • The Living Wage should be set in a transparent way, independent of control or manipulation by government, employers or other parties
  • A Living Wage should be sufficient to pay for a locally agreed basket of goods, which is likely to include food, housing, utilities, transport, a degree of leisure and potentially education, health insurance, childcare, servicing debt and savings. A Living Wage is likely to include support for family members as defined in the local context
  • A Living Wage should be paid to all employees (male and female) over a locally agreed minimum working age.
  • A Living Wage should be paid voluntarily by employers


Download our Ethical Trading Code of Conduct