DESIGN FROM FINLAND logo tells about the origin of Finnish design and investment in Finnish professional design. The use of the logo is supervised by the Association for Finnish Work. The logo has been granted to North Outdoor on April 19th 2018.
Merino wool used by North Outdoor is MULESING FREE. Mulesing is a surgical measure practiced by Australian sheep breeders to remove strips of loose skin around the anus of a sheep. The formation of a scar prevents tachina flies from nesting and laying eggs on the skin of the sheep. When carried out unanesthetized, the measure is painful for the sheep, and for this reason, our merino wool is obtained from farms where mulesing is not practiced.
OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 is an international, consistent testing and certification system for textiles. A certificate granted by the independent research institute guarantees that no substances harmful in skin contact have been used in North Outdoor products.
WOOLMARK® is a worldwide expert company which guarantees the high quality of merino wool. The company’s logo is one of the most recognised and respected brands. In North Outdoor products high merino wool content is indicated by the Woolmark logos Pure New Wool (100% merino wool) and Wool Rich Blend (49.9%–99.9% merino wool).
BSCI in a nutshell
Amfori BSCI supports its member companies’ aim to promote ethical and social responsibility in their international purchase and supply chains. The amfori BSCI Code of Conduct function as tools. The implementation system and code of conduct behind the initiative are based on widely known international treaties such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the general agreements and recommendations of ILO and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. BSCI develops their own activities and those of their member enterprises by means of audits, education, communication and influencing.
Responsibility and amfori BSCI
North Outdoor has been a member of amfori BSCI since 2019. Amfori BSCI (previously known as Business Social Compliance Initiative, BSCI) is a worldwide initiative with the purpose of improving working conditions in global operating chains. As far as North Outdoor is concerned, we want to influence our merino wool and packing factories located in China. Along with the initiative, North Outdoor will have better chances to guarantee responsible actions regarding working conditions, not only in Finland, but also in China. With the opportunities provided by BSCI, we have improved our expertise on building a responsible purchase chain.
As a member company, we’ll undertake to follow the ethical rules and code of conduct of amfori BSCI. These rules are incorporated also in the activities of companies’ purchase chains, and the aim will be to improve it continuously. The code of conduct takes a stand among other things to the prohibition of the use of child labour and forced labour, occupational health, safe working conditions, prohibition of discrimination, environmental protection, specific protection of young people at work and workers right to organize themselves and to negotiate.
North Outdoor and factories in China
North Outdoor is considered a small orderer on the Chinese market. The code of conduct of amfori BSCI are the best way to make a positive impact on the local operating and working culture. The code of conduct will be the basis for the cooperation also in those cases when North Outdoor’s Chinese factory manufactures products for other companies. North Outdoor’s membership in amfori BSCI is valuable for the reason that the share of a single brand in the production of the factory is not significant.
We’d like to convey the producers of our purchase chain the message about the code of conduct of amfori BSCI and carry out cooperation with the factories to improve working conditions.
We have visited all the factories used by North Outdoor. The most recent visit took place in January 2020. North Outdoor has also hired a local employee who is constantly in contact with the Chinese factories. The aim of this action is to achieve closer cooperation and communications with the factories.
North Outdoor and supervision of the factories
The products belonging to North Outdoor’s MADEINFINLAND collection are manufactured in a Finnish factory. Our other products are manufactured in China. For our part, we want to promote responsibility in China. We pay personal visits to the factories from 2 to 4 times a year. Visits are made by both our Finnish and local personnel. In addition to this, the Chinese factories are audited by a third party. We are a member company of amfori BSCI. Our product suppliers shall also have to commit themselves to the principles of the BSCI Code of Conduct.
Before the auditing, the factory will carry out a self-assessment according to a BSCI template. After that, an audit will be made at the factory, by an impartial party operating in China, approved by SAI (Social Accountability International). A professional audit conducted by a third party will improve the transparency and trustworthiness of the activities. The audit will provide us the basis for drawing up a plan on actions to be corrected.
We follow closely audit reports submitted from factories. The average grade of the factories used by North Outdoor is C (acceptable). In several areas, the factories obtained grades A (very good) and B (good). The only reason for the average grade C is the periodical overtime work done by the employees of the factory, for which the grade D (insufficient). Auditing alone won’t improve the working conditions in China.
Workers’ possibilities of influencing in our factories are good, and long working hours are also the employees’ own wish. There is periodically so much production in the factories, that there is overtime work available. Adequate overtime compensation is paid for overtime work. As far as overtime work in the factories used by us is concerned, it is not forced labour, but instead voluntary overtime work for which extra compensation is being paid.
North Outdoor uses yarns produced by Südwolle Group in INTENSE PRO, ALL DAY, ACTIVE, SENSITIVE, ARCTIC and LAAVU collections. Südwolle Group produces 100% wool yarns and wool blend yarns. Südwolle Group emphasizes environmental protection and social and sustainable development in all their activities. The company is widely known for the high quality, environmental friendliness and good human resource management. The company’s organic products are produced transparently and responsibly. Südwolle has been established in 1966, and its headquarters are located in Nuremberg in Germany. Südwolle has 3200 employees worldwide. The company’s factories are located in Germany, Italy, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria and China.
The yarns of the MADEINFINLAND collection are manufactured in the Italian spinning mill Lanerossi Filati. The wool originates from South America and Australia. The company places emphasis on responsibility and sustainable development in all their activities. High-quality Lanerossi Filati yarns used by North Outdoor are Woolmark- and Oeko-Tex –certified.