At Dr. Martens we stand for doing the right thing, we always have and always will. This holds true across all of our own operations, as well as being the driving force behind the relationships we have with our key partners. To us it’s much more than a box-ticking exercise, it’s about getting involved where we need to in order to really make a difference, whether that’s a particular project with one of our suppliers or our on-going work to minimise our environmental footprint. We’re proud of everything we have achieved so far and look forward to continued progress in the future.
For Dr. Martens the workers in our supplier factories are just as important to us as our own employees, we believe that everyone in our supply chain should be treated fairly and with dignity.
A key part of our strategy is to have long-term relationships with a small number of key partners. This allows us to build stronger relationships with a deeper understanding of the issues faced by our suppliers and creates an environment of trust and transparency.
Code of conduct
Our code of conduct is at the heart of this work, it sets out our expectations from suppliers and covers a number of key areas:
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labour shall not be used
- All wages are paid on time and in full
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practised
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
Detailed audits against our code of conduct at our supplier sites form part of our on-going work, but of greater importance is working with and supporting our suppliers to remedy any non-conformances that we find and where necessary providing them with the additional support and resources that they need to do this. Once an action plan has been agreed to remedy non-conformances, we monitor it on an on-going basis to ensure that the required improvements have been put in place. We will not continue to work with suppliers who are not committed to making improvements and we will not start working with any new suppliers who have critical non-conformances.
Our policy states suppliers should not recruit anyone below the age of 15 unless local or national law stipulates a higher mandatory age. We expect our suppliers to have robust recruitment systems and policies to respect the minimum working age standards, however this is still something that we monitor extremely closely and have age verification guides that we share with our suppliers for the countries we source from. In the event that we were to find an incident of child labour, we work with local organisations and or monitoring partners for the remediation.
Health and safety
Health and safety management is an on-going challenge for all of our suppliers and generally accounts for a high proportion of all issues identified. We therefore decided it was particularly important to work with our suppliers to implement robust procedures to manage health and safety. Dr. Martens’ local employees in each of our source countries attend regular health and safety meetings with all of our suppliers. We have developed and rolled out a number of tools to support this work, including H&S Toolkit, PPE Guide as well as Needle and sharps policy.
Subcontracting and homeworking
One of the biggest risks in sourcing from other countries is the use of subcontracting and homeworking. We have a policy in place with all of our suppliers that requires them to disclose any potential subcontracting or homeworking before going ahead so that we can review the proposed site.
Conflict minerals policy
This policy was put in place to ensure that any metallic trims used in the production of Dr. Martens are free of conflict minerals. The UK government’s guidance on conflict minerals can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/conflict-minerals
#Environment – Product
Our products have always been built to last but it’s equally important to us to develop and manufacture sustainable products that are safe for consumers and have a minimal impact on the environment. We currently do this in a number of ways and are committed to continuing to explore opportunities to improve the sustainability of our products and reduce their impact on the environment through research and innovation.’
Leather Working Group
We are members of the Leather Working Group (LWG) (http://www.leatherworkinggroup.com/), which is a coalition of brands, suppliers, retailers, leading technical experts and NGOs. The aim of the LWG is to raise environmental standards throughout the leather industry and to develop best practice standards. Member tanneries are audited by specialists against stringent criteria (including effluent, emissions to air, solid waste streams, energy consumption, water usage and adherence to restricted substances legislation) and those meeting the required environmental standards are awarded gold, silver, or bronze medal standard. In 2018 99% of all of our upper leather was sourced from LWG medal status tanneries.
Restricted Substances Policy
Our restricted substances policy is another key part of our overall environmental performance in ensuring that our products comply with all relevant legislation in all of our markets, this includes EU REACH legislation, California Prop 65 and CPSIA. Every new material and component used in our products goes through a thorough testing program and this is monitored further in bulk production through on-going testing. We also recognise the impact of the chemicals used in the production of our products, not only from an environmental perspective but also for the health of the workers in our own and supplier sites and also for our consumers.
Our standard shoebox is not only fully recyclable but is made from 100% recycled materials, and it is printed with soy ink, which is solvent-free and easier to recycle than traditional inks.
Animal Derived Materials
At Dr. Martens we believe it is important to understand where the materials used in our products come from and how they were produced. This involves not only looking at the types of materials that we use in our products, but also where and how the materials that we do use are made.
Leather (predominantly bovine) is a by-product of the meat industry and is the main material used in most of the footwear and accessories that we make, we therefore put a lot of emphasis on ensuring that it is sourced responsibly.
We will not use any of the following:
- Animal Fur – this includes farmed fur as well as fur which may be a product of the meat industry.
- Endangered Species – this includes all species listed on the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) or IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) lists of endangered species.
- Leather or skin products from exotic and wild caught animals – including alligator, crocodile, lizard, snake and reptile skins.
#Environment – Operations
UK Distribution Centre
Our UK Distribution Centre opened 2014 and was designed with sustainability in mind. It achieved BREEAM Very Good which is a sustainable design standard for new non-domestic buildings which are in the top 25% for their environmental performance. The following features help reduce our DC environmental impact:
- Solar thermal panels on the roof generate hot water
- Rainwater harvesting supplies water for flushing the toilets and the sprinkler system
- Energy efficient LED lighting with daylight sensors are fitted internally and externally
- Energy efficient air conditioning is fitted throughout
- Our DC is zero waste to landfill
Offices and stores
We have offices and stores located all over the world. Here are some of the features that help reduce their environmental impact:
- LED low energy and motion sensor lighting
- Energy efficient air-conditioning and IT equipment
- We measure and monitor our energy consumption and waste
- Our UK offices are zero waste to landfill
Better Retail, Better World
We’re proud to be a signatory of the British Retail Consortium’s Better Retail, Better World scheme, an initiative for retailers taking action against some of the biggest global challenges of the coming decade. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of the initiative and provide a framework for signatory brands to work towards in the form of clear and transparent goals. We believe in the power of collaboration and this is an opportunity for Dr. Martens to be a part of a lasting change in the retail sector. Click on the image below for more information.
At Dr. Martens our people are encouraged to do more for the wider community. We celebrate and encourage attitude that comes from expressing your true self and value authenticity and diversity above all else.
In 2018, in the UK we raised £11,000 from internal fundraisers for Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that exists to improve the cancer experience of young people.
We donated £11,000, from our “friends and family” sale to Footwear Friends, a charity which provides financial assistance to people who have worked in the Shoe Trade but have fallen on hard times.
We also donated £10,000 from our Pride product sales to AKT a charity which provides safe homes and better futures for young LGBTQ+ people.
Across North America we have partnered with Central City Concern in Portland, Oregon, which provides local children with clothing and gifts. We also donate our shoes to homeless charities and support food drives with the Oregon Food Bank in America, which has provided over 4,300 meals to people in need.
We encourage our employees to step up and support charities of their choice too! Last year we raised an extra £20,000 for other charities championed by the people in our company. We also offer a matched-giving policy and 16 hours paid volunteering time globally. Together we put our best foot forward and lead the way for what is fair.
Music is the heartbeat to our brand. In the UK we hold gigs in the DM Boot Room. Gigs are free but we fundraise for Teenage Cancer Trust and donations collected go directly to the charity. If you’re interesting in coming to an upcoming gig, take a look at what we’ve got planned. [https://www.drmartens.com/uk/en_gb/dmsbootroom]
We also support the Joe Strummer Foundation, a charity which creates empowerment through music and provides opportunities to musicians. Did you know every time you buy a tote bag in our UK stores we donate to the Joe Strummer Foundation?
In America, we have fundraised for Ethos Inc. which provides classes, private lessons, summer camps and music outreach to over 7,000 children and young adults across Oregon.