What Lindex does today takes place with the future firmly in focus. Not only do we assume responsibility for our products we also employ long-term sustainability initiatives to ensure good working conditions, a sustainable environment, good business ethics and observance of human rights.
By nature, the fashion industry is in many respects contradictory to the concept of sustainability. It is therefore more important than ever that as an individual fashion company we assume responsibility for the world in which we live and that we contribute by making our part of the industry as sustainable as possible. Our greatest responsibility at present is to the environment and to stipulate how our products are manufactured.
The Lindex sustainability programme is founded on long-term visions which we have broken down into more short-term objectives in order to ensure ongoing improvement. We can see over time that we have succeeded in forcing down the company’s carbon dioxide emissions. This has been achieved mainly through more sustainable transport of goods by using better logistics solutions and through a substantial reduction in air transport. Electricity use in the stores has also been reduced and is something we have worked on a great deal.
During the year we ran a major water project in Bangladesh, China and Turkey, where we reviewed and worked to reduce the environmental impact at all suppliers that have wet processes. Addressing the water issue in many of the countries in which Lindex products are manufactured is one of the most important issues for the future and is not something that Lindex can solve alone. However, I am extremely proud that through our project, which will continue during 2009, we can be involved and make a contribution.
Even if we have achieved our objectives with regard to controls and levels at the suppliers it is at our suppliers that the challenge lies in the future. In the short term, the demands that we can make on the suppliers could appear costly. However, we know that through measures such as good working hours, safer machines and better lighting, productivity at the factories can be improved, thus also generating financial benefits for the supplier. The test lies in communicating this to the suppliers, which is crucial to how we succeed in improving the working environment at the suppliers even further.
Lindex has opted to focus on one or a small number of core sustainability issues each year, as we realise this is how we can achieve the best results. For 2009, the focus will be on reducing the environmental impact of our store fittings. This applies to everything from the choice of materials to the mode of transport. Lindex is currently undergoing major expansion and it is particularly important to examine how we can build new stores that have the least possible impact on the environment.
We also want to help our customers to assume responsibility for the environment in the way they handle our products – washing and recycling for example. We know this is an area in which there is considerable potential to reduce environmental impact and this can be achieved by providing information at the stores, on the garments and on the internet.
The basis for the Lindex CSR programme is the UN corporate initiative Global Compact, which lays down 10 principles for responsible enterprise. These principles permeate the whole company. In the fashion industry it is very easy to look at temporary trends. However, working sustainably and with concern for the world around us is the only way forward in the long term and for us at Lindex this is always the height of fashion.
Lindex employees are very committed to these issues and want to assume responsibility. This is something for which I am extremely grateful. Respect for our products, for our environment and for those who manufacture the garments continues to be the cornerstone of our CSR work. I hope that by openly reporting our work through the CSR Report we can maintain a dialogue with all our interested parties on how we can continue to work best to achieve our objectives.
Gothenburg, April 2009
Göran Bille, CEO
A great deal has happened since Lindex introduced a ban on child labour in 1993. Producing fashion is a complex process and Lindex must ensure that it takes place in a manner that is both good and acceptable. There is a strong link between the clothing industry and economic development in poor countries. Lindex products are manufactured mainly in Asia, where the clothing industry has provided work and thus a higher standard of living for many people, particularly women. Even if considerable progress has been made in terms of improved working conditions in the manufacturing countries a great deal remains to be done and this requires mutual co-operation with suppliers to improve working conditions.
Working with sustainable development is a prerequisite for the long-term development of Lindex and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work is an integral part of the company’s operations and day-to-day activities. Apart from improved working conditions at the suppliers, CSR work at Lindex also involves occupational health and safety work within the organisation, environmental work, ethical issues and the approach to human rights.
The Lindex CEO bears ultimate responsibility for the company’s CSR programme. On the group level, Lindex has a CSR steering committee, which is made up of the CEO, members of the executive management and the purchasing development manager. The committee is responsible for running CSR work on a strategic level whilst on the operative level responsibility rests with the business area and country managers. The CSR committee defines objectives and activity plans and follows up the work as it proceeds.
On the group level, Lindex has a Social Compliance Manager who is responsible for developing, implementing and running activites at Lindex related to the Code of Conduct. The co-ordinator is assisted by seven full-time CSR-auditors, based at the Lindex production offices in China, India, Bangladesh and Turkey.
On the group level, Lindex has an Environmental Manager who through a network of co-workers within the group is responsible for developing and pursuing environmental work. A number of Lindex departments have appointed environmental officers. On the store level, the store managers also act as regional environmental co-ordinators.
The Lindex Head of Security is responsible for developing, implementing and pursuing work at Lindex related to ethics.
Leadership and employee matters are dealt with on a group level by the company’s Human Resources Department.