Corporate Social Responsibility

We believe in sustainability, and have committed to ethical, social and environmental standards.

 

There are many, complex challenges in the textile industry, but we strive to be transparent and responsible. Corporate social responsibility is a cornerstone of our values and an important basis of Pierre Robert's business platform. In this section, you can read more about our commitment to corporate social responsibility, and how we're working to become more sustainable.

Code of Conduct - Ethical guidelines

Our suppliers must satisfy Pierre Robert Group’s ethical guidelines.

Our products are mainly produced in China and a few Europeian countries. We do not own the actual factories, but have products produced by approximately 50 independent suppliers. Our suppliers must satisfy basic requirements specified in Pierre Robert Group’s ethical guidelines; our Code of Conduct.

Child labour is not permitted. Working conditions must comply with international standards, including the protection of workers’ rights and safety, and measures must be taken to protect the environment and animal welfare. The guidelines are based on conventions adopted by the UN and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the UN Global Compact’s ten principles for sustainable development.

Download our ethical guidelines

Working with our suppliers

To ensure compliance with our ethical guidelines, it's essential to maintain a close relationship with our suppliers.

Since 2009, Pierre Robert Group has been using an internal operating system, developed by the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway, to assess risk and working conditions in our factories. Through dialogue and cooperation, our goal is to create a good working environment and good working conditions for the factory workers.

Our ethical guidlines and Code of Conduct, in addition to chemical regulations and general conditions for co-operation and quality, must be met by all new suppliers. To make sure that our guidelines and regulations are upheld, working conditions are routinely checked by external, independent control and certification bodies and our own staff. This follow-up work with suppliers helps us to ensure responsible production, and let's us identify any areas that need to be improved.

the Ethical Trading Initiative

Pierre Robert Group has been a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (IEH) since 2005.

Through our membership we endeavor to improve the working and environmental conditions of our suppliers. By doing so, we can contribute to a more sustainable development and production process. Through our membership we have committed to submitting annual reports to IEH about our progress on ethical trading. These reports are accessible to the public and can be ordered via the IEH website.

Our proof of membership:

Mulesing-free wool and animal welfare

Pierre Robert Group does not tolerate the unethical and inhumane treatment of animals.

Pierre Robert Group’s (PRG) ethical guidelines form the basis of our animal welfare requirements. These cover farming, animal transport, safety, sustainability and general welfare.

Mulesing

At Pierre Robert Group, we strongly condemn mulesing, a painful intervention to prevent fly larvae from getting into the skin of merino sheep. The method is in use in Australia. We only buy certified mulesing-free merino wool from countries that do not practice mulesing, primarily from South Africa.

This autumn, 2014we launched origination labels for all of our clothing. The label shows where the clothing was produced. Wool clothing is also labelled with the country of origin for the wool and that the wool is mulesing-free. 

About the use of angora wool

Pierre Robert Group condemns the treatment of angora rabbits in China which has emerged in the media in recent years. Their treatment is very disturbing and is contrary to our ethical guidelines on animal welfare. We support the Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance and PETA who say that this type of animal abuse should be banned.

PRG primarily uses wool from sheep, but used to have socks (Season Socks) in the La Mote range with14 % angora wool. We impose strict animal welfare requirements on our suppliers. Unfortunately our subcontractor for angora wool has not produced sufficient documentation that our requirements are being complied with. These socks have now been removed from the product range and PRG no longer wishes to have products with angora wool in its collection in the future.

Read more about animal welfare in our ethical guidelines.

At a mulesing-free farm


The mulesing of sheep continues to be common practice in Australia, but alternative solutions are becoming increasingly popular. We visited a mulesing-free sheep farm.

Merino sheep have large folds of skin and these provide a breeding ground for fly larvae in Australia’s warm climate. Flystrike results in extensive and painful damage to the sheep’s backside and, in many cases, can lead to death. The traditional solution has been mulesing, a practice that involves cutting away the skin on the sheep’s backside. Once healed, the smooth skin grows without any wool or folds. But this practice is extremely painful and stressful for the sheep and many are treated without any form of anaesthetic. It is possible to anesthetise the sheep during the procedure itself, but the anaesthetic only works for 12 hours and the open wound is painful for up to two weeks. Mulesing is therefore met with considerable protest among consumers, manufacturers and animal welfare organisations.

“Unfortunately, mulesing is currently the most effective means to protect sheep from flystrike. Anyone who has seen sheep die from flystrike understands that this is far worse torture than mulesing. Alternative methods reduce the animal’s suffering, but are not as effective against flystrike. But I’m from a newer generation. If we were to start practicing mulesing, I would find it extremely unpleasant. We need to find a better way to deal with this,” says Hamish Henderson. 

Hamish Henderson with sheepdogs Jenny and Faith.

Hamish is a 4st generation sheep farmer and runs the family farm Middlebrook Station northwest of Sydney. The farm has around 3000 sheep, a small farm by Australian standards. All the same, the farm is large enough that Hamish has to use his own light aircraft to keep track of his sheep and their location.

Young sheep at pasture.

Hamish and his family stopped mulesing for reasons of animal welfare. The Henderson family now runs a100 % mulesing-free farm and has also introduced a number of other measures to increase animal welfare. These include a specially designed enclosure for guiding the sheep gradually into the vaccination and shearing area. The enclosure is designed to minimise stress to the animals.

Breeding is the solution

“I’m an early adopter or innovator. I’m actually a helicopter pilot, but moved back here with my wife and our four children seven years ago. Since I’ve done all kinds of different work, I’m not stuck with traditional farming methods. If there’s a better way to do things, why not use it? I’m not here to hurt the animals,” says Hamish.

The Henderson family buys lambs from a breeder who breeds ewes with a smoother backside, i.e. with smaller and fewer skin folds.  

“It’s really the only way to avoid this problem. You need to breed merino sheep with fewer folds since it’s in the folds where the infestation occurs. Having fewer folds does not affect the quality of the wool,” says Hamish.   

It’s also important to keep the backside of the sheep close-cropped, making it easier to keep clean. Ewes are sheared before they lamb in May and June. They don’t need to be sheared again until all the sheep are sheared in November.

“There are also good treatments that can be used when shearing. The one we use gives us 20 weeks of protection against flystrike during the Australian summer months of November, December, January, February and March. We’ve also been fortunate these past years with dry summers. A dry summer increases the risk of drought and poor pasture growth, but also means fewer fly larvae and less risk of flystrike,” explains Hamish.

The neighbouring farm to Middlebrook Station is also a sheep farm. The sheep there have scars on their backsides and Hamish says that the owners are still mulesing. It’s easy to see whether sheep are mulesed or not, making it difficult to cheat on the certification requirements. Inspectors come to the farm when the sheep are sheared and, when selling the wool, you need to sign a self-declaration stating that you have not mulesed the sheep.

“You don’t get paid extra for mulesing-free wool, but it is important for both ethical reasons and to keep up with global requirements for wool production. Things aren’t going to change overnight, but change is happening,” says Hamish.

Special enclosures that minimise stress to the animals.

Healthy sheep mean good quality wool.

Our environmental focus

Our environmental policy

Operations in the Pierre Robert Group are managed so that alongside our partners, we continually focus on improving the economic, social and environmental impact of our business. Continual maintenance and improvement work throughout the entire value chain is a precondition for achieving our environmental objectives. Our objectives should guide our staff and partners.

The challenges are great, but we are continually looking for ways to improve and to minimise the negative effects of our business as much as possible. Pierre Robert Group has chosen to focus on the following areas to reduce our environmental impact:

  • Waste reduction  
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions   
  • Products designed and produced in a way that reduces our impact on the environment

We are working continuously to prepare and implement several initiatives that promote these three areas.

Chemical regulations

The use of chemicals in products and packaging is regulated by the Pierre Robert Group’s chemical regulations which are in accordance with, or even stricter than EU regulations.

Substances such as DMF, phthalates and other hazardous substances are totally forbidden in the production of our products. All our manufacturers must comply with our chemical regulations, and regular spot checks of the products are done during production and on delivery. These tests are carried out in accredited laboratories.

Download our chemical regulations.

Environmental requirements for production

Our suppliers are carefully selected and must satisfy a number of criteria in Pierre Robert Group’s ethical guidelines.

We require all suppliers to comply with prevailing national legislation and environmental standards including a system for waste management, chemical handling, water consumption and effluent. An increasing number of manufactures have ISO 14001 environmental certification, and we require all suppliers to restrict their use of chemicals according to our chemical regulations.

Choice of packaging

At Pierre Robert Group we want to reduce our environmental impact and are continually searching for new types of packaging.

Supermarket chains have different conditions for displaying products to traditional clothes shops. In order to be able to protect but at the same time display our products in a good, informative way, some of our products are packed in cardboard packaging and some in plastic. As far as possible we use plastic that can be recycled via established recycling schemes from Green Dot Norway/Repa (for Sweden). Recycling materials leads to reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, lower energy consumption and several other positive environmental benefits.

Green Dot Norway

Pierre Robert is a member of Green Dot Norway.

The Green Dot Norway logo can be found on all our products. Green Dot Norway is a national scheme for the collection and recycling of used packaging, and 73% of packaging that is returned via the Green Dot Norway system goes toward the recycling of materials. Pierre Robert Group pays a voluntary tax on the packaging we import and use in our products, and we are continually looking for new methods and materials that can reduce our environmental impact. Read more about Green Dot Norway.

We encourage everyone to separate all packaging according to type.

Product responsibility

You should feel confident about having Pierre Robert Group’s products next to your skin. We set high quality standards throughout the value chain—from innovation and product development to production by suppliers and delivery to the customer. As an additional safeguard, many of our products are marked according to independent labelling schemes.

Oeko-Tex100

Many of our children’s products are labelled OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 100. Sensitive baby skin needs a little extra protection. OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 100 has strict guidelines regarding sensitising chemicals or other hazardous substances. Products that are OEKO-TEX® Standard 100-certified are tested by independent laboratories, and spot checks of our textiles are undertaken on an ongoing basis.

Woolmark

Many of our merino wool garments carry the Woolmark logo. The Woolmark label means that the products are made from good-quality wool where the fibre content and quality conform to a certain standard. Use of the Woolmark label means that the suppliers must satisfy strict requirements throughout the entire value chain, from the choice of fibre and spinning to dyeing and knitting.

Surplus garments

One man's trash is another man's treasure. At Pierre Robert Group we donate surplus garments to aid organisations and charities, benefiting both society and the environment. This benefits society and the environment.

We aim to offer you the newest trends, seasonal colours and designs, - but with fashion comes responsibility. What happens to the unsold garments and last year's designs? At Pierre Robert we wish to contribute to positive social development and help those with limited resources. We do not throw away surplus clothes, but give them to people who need them.

Pierre Robert Group donates garments to the following aid organisations and charities:

The Red Cross

Active Child Aid

Gatebarna i Estland (A charity for street children in Estonia)

In addition to the above charities, we've donated clothes to the Salvation Army’s addiction rehabilitation programmes and to a privatlly run maternity clinic in Madagascar.

Everyday sustainability

This is how you can ensure the optimal sustainable use of your Pierre Robert garment.

  • Wear your clothes more than once between washes. While underwear and socks should always be washed after use, most other garments can be worn several times before washing them. Wool does not need to be washed as often as clothes made from other materials. Wool has self-cleaning and antibacterial properties that prevent odours and can often be aired instead of being washed.
  • Have a full load when using the washing machine. Washing a half load is NOT sustainable.
  • Wash at lower temperatures. With today’s detergents you do not need to wash everything at 60 degrees. Most clothes will be clean if washed at 30 and 40 degrees. Also, not everything needs to be prewashed.
  • Use eco-friendly detergents, be sure to use the right amount and avoid the excessive use of fabric softener.
  • Remove stains as they occur, without washing the entire garment. Apply washing up liquid to greasy stains, leave for 10 minutes and rinse with tap water. Hold the stain directly under the tap with the inside against the spout. Rinse the stain vigorously with water.
  • Avoid using the tumble drier unnecessarily. Air drying saves your clothes as well as the environment. It is also a lot cheaper!
  • Thinking of buying a new washing machine or tumble drier? Check the energy rating, and ideally choose a machine that is A-rated.