CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM
OUR CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM
Established as one of North America’s leading corporate apparel suppliers, Ash City is a privately owned company with offices in Canada, U.S.A, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
At Ash City, we believe in doing the right thing. Leading the way in Corporate, Social and Environmental responsibility, you can be assured that we are fully committed to operate in a way that fosters positive business practices throughout our global organization, specifically in the areas of ethical sourcing, the environment, health and safety, community support and associate development. We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards in our dedication to act as a responsible corporate citizen and are committed to taking responsibility for the impact our activities have on customers, employees, communities and our surroundings.
As such, our Corporate Responsibility Program agenda has been developed with comprehensive principles that describe our commitments, guiding us in our everyday business decisions, from how we choose our suppliers to the charitable foundations we support.
Below is a summary of Ash City's Code of Conduct manual. For the complete documentation, please click here.
Ash City feels that it is increasingly important to take responsibility for our actions in all operating territories, including those individuals taking part in the production of our garments. Our Code of Conduct is a non-negotiable requirement from our side that requires all of our suppliers and their subcontractors, without exception, to meet the following requirements:
1. Legal Requirements. Our followed rule is that all of our contract suppliers must follow the national and local laws in their countries of operation. If any of the requirements by Ash City violate the provision of these laws, the existing laws should be followed and in such cases, the supplier must always immediately inform Ash City upon receiving this Code of Conduct.
2. Child Labor. Ash City does not accept child labor. All employees in the factory must have reached the minimum age prescribed by law in the host country or not be younger than the age for completing compulsory education in the country of manufacture.
3. Workers' Rights. Every worker shall be treated with respect and dignity. There shall be no discrimination in employment or in recruitment and hiring decisions. Employers shall not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours allowed by the law of the country where the workers are employed. Every worker has a right to compensation for a regular work week that is sufficient to meet the worker's basic needs and provide some discretionary income.
4. Safety. No hazardous equipment or unsafe buildings are acceptable. All equipment must be properly safeguarded to prevent injury and safety procedures must also be provided for equipment requiring special operation. First aid equipment must be available in each factory, and at least one person in each department should have basic first aid training.
5. Factory Conditions/Hygienic Workplace. It is important for the workers' well-being, and for the quality of the garments, that the factory environment is kept clean and free from pollution of different kinds. The temperature in the factory should be tolerable as a working environment, the lighting should be sufficient for the work performed, and sanitary facilities should be kept clean.
6. Environmental Concerns. Our supplier must comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations in the country of operation. Garbage and other waste must be segregated for their proper disposal, hazardous materials must be properly handled if their use cannot be totally avoided, and there must also be strict compliance with the country's law on pollution control.
7. Housing Facilities. If the factory provides housing facilities for its staff, the requirements regarding safety and factory conditions/hygienic workplace (under point 4 and 5 above), should also cover the housing area. We want to particularly stress the importance of fire alarms, fire extinguishers, unobstructed emergency exits and evacuation drills in dormitory areas.
8. Sub-contractors. Contract factories are expected to adhere to this Code of Conduct, and are also expected to have a program in place to assure that all of these policies are rigorously adhered to by all of their subcontractors. The program should also include periodic visits by contract factory personnel to their subcontractors for verifying compliance.
9. Transshipment. The factory must comply with applicable customs laws, and must establish and maintain programs to comply with the customs law regarding illegal transshipment of sewn products.
10. Monitoring and enforcement. Ash City expects its suppliers to respect the above Code of Conduct and to actively do their utmost to achieve our standards. We will not compromise on our basic requirements regarding safety and human rights. Ash City, reserves the right to make unannounced visits to all factories producing our goods, at any time.
11. Policy agreement document. All suppliers must sign the Policy Agreement Document, as this action reaffirms their strong intention to comply with all National and Local laws, and with the policies set forth in this Code of Conduct.
12. Employment Relationship. Employers shall adopt and adhere to rules and conditions of employment that respect workers and, at a minimum, safeguard their rights under national and international labor, social security laws and regulations.
To view Ash City's complete Code of Conduct manual, please click here.
STANDARDS for PRODUCT TESTING & CERTIFICATION:
At Ash City, we take great pride in ensuring our products are tested and certified to the highest level to consistently deliver top quality product to our customers, helping to protect their brand and reputation by offering compliance with the highest product standards in the market. Our commitment involves the strict adherence of the following:
Fabric Testing and Certification:
• Restricted Substance List (RSL) by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). The AAFA identifies the strictest standards that apply to chemicals used in apparel and footwear, along with updated test methods, legal citations, and information on other jurisdictions. The AAFA also ensures their standards are focused on compliancy relating to the environment, sustain ability and overall product safety standards.
• Our in-house Quality Control Team and Testing Laboratory facilitate internal testing of all our fabrics and garments to maintain consistent product performance and quality. Our testing laboratory is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art apparatus used to measure physical testing, color fastness testing & performance testing. In-house tests performed include Shrinkage, Color Fastness, Tear Resistance, Tensile & Seam Strength, Water Resistance and Repellency, Bursting & Abrasion Strength and pilling Resistance, just to name a few.
• On-going Third Party Independent Fabric & Garment Testing is required to ensure/confirm that our quality and performance standards and specifications have been achieved. Recognized independent governing bodies used include:
• SGS the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. Recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity, they operate a network of more than 1,000 offices and laboratories around the world
• Intertec Testing Service (ITS) the world's largest independent testing, inspection and certification partner.
• Merchandise Testing Laboratories (MTL) a quality assurance provider serving the global consumer product and retail markets.
• All basic textiles and apparel are tested based on the following internationally recognized standards. Test methods and evaluation standards focus on colorfastness, physical properties, identification and analysis, soil release, water resistance and other physical properties of all fibers and fabric.
• American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) the world’s leading not-for-profit association serving textile professionals since 1921. AATCC provides test method development, quality control materials, and professional networking for thousands of members in 60 countries throughout the world.
• American Society for Testing & Material (ASTM) is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world; a trusted source for technical standards for materials, products, systems and services.
• Our E.C.O (ecological clothing options) products adhere to strict quality control, testing and certification that are required to qualify any chemicals used in the processing of our textile materials. All Ash City manufacturers must maintain a reliable quality assurance system of ecological products where environmental chemicals are being used with assurances that there is no contamination during the manufacturing process. Independent testing is required with supported certification to monitor the supply chain involved throughout the manufacturing process, such as:
• Standard 100
• Global Organic Test Standards (GOTS)
Garment Testing & Inspection:
Ash City has established internal Quality Standards and Color Standards to control and ensure the highest quality products are delivered to our customers with our primary focus on consistency. Ash City ensures the highest QC standards regarding workmanship, color, function, size specifications and packing details by enforcing strict inspection policies and procedures.
Our Global Quality Assurance team, located overseas, executes regular factory evaluations, pre-production inspections, interim production inspections and final random inspections are conducted at all stages within the supply chain.
Ash City production Inspectors execute 3 stages of pre-shipment inspections, all based on our Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) standards:
• Initial Production Check (IPC)
• During Production Check (DUPRO)
• Final Random Inspection (FRI)
Under the Work wear category, Hi-Visibility products are certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) in compliance with health and safety apparel regulations.
Quality Assurance and Product Safety:
All Ash City products imported into Canada follow strict adherence to the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act, published July 2011 and goods imported into the United States follow strict adherence to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) and are supported with a Certificate of Conformity (COC). We ensure each shipment is compliant to COC. Tracking labels and many other safety considerations are also implemented for all Youth products.
All labeling and product information complies with the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA) as set out by the U.S.A. Federal Trade Commission (FDA) and the Textile Labeling Act (TLA) as set out by the Canadian Competition Bureau.
HEALTH AND SAFETY:
Ash City promotes the health, safety and well-being of our employees. Every member of our team plays an important role in establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
Protection of employees from injury or occupational disease is a major continuing objective. A Joint Health and Safety Committee and a First Aid Committee Code 8 Team comprising of representatives from management and non-management groups exist within Ash City. Any concerns about the safety of working conditions must be brought to the attention of the immediate Manager or Supervisor, Human Resources or the committee. All supervisors and workers are ultimately responsible for worker health and safety.
Supervisors will be held accountable for the health and safety of workers under their supervision. Supervisors are responsible to ensure that machinery and equipment are safe and that workers work in compliance with established safe work practices and Ash City’s procedures. Workers must receive adequate training in their specific work tasks to protect their health and safety.
Every worker must protect his or her own health and safety as well as that of co-worker by working in compliance with the law and with safe work practices and procedures established by Ash City.
It is in the best interest of all parties to consider health and safety in every workplace activity. Commitment to health and safety regulations must form an integral part of this organization. No one is exempt from following good safety practices and procedures.
All employees, contractors and visitors have the responsibility to work safely and report hazardous conditions.
This policy is justified on the grounds that preventing injuries and incidents makes sound moral and business sense.
Ash City is committed to continuous efforts of securing our operations and our global supply chain against possible compromise or threat of terrorist or terrorist weaponry, and of maintaining a high level of compliance in Customs-related areas.
In 2002, Ash City received the Customs-Trade-Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification from the U.S. Customs & Borders Protection (CBP), a division of the Department of Homeland Security. The C-TPAT program is a joint initiative between the U.S. government and certified businesses to cultivate cooperative relationships based upon the integrity of a company’s security practices. These practices are vital in maintaining an overall efficient and compliant supply chain and strengthened border security. As a benefit for participating, Customs has committed to providing “fast-lane” processing of our cross border transfers. Additional information about the C-TPAT Program is available at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
All Ash City suppliers, vendors and forwarders are required to follow C-TPAT requirements.
In 2008, Ash City received the Partners in Protection (PIP) certification from the Canada Borders Services Agency (CBSA). The PIP program enlists the cooperation of private industry to enhance border and trade chain security, combat organized crime and terrorism and help detect and prevent contraband smuggling. It is a voluntary program with no membership fee that aims to secure the trade chain, one partnership at a time. Industry strongly supports the PIP program and greatly values the commitment of PIP members to do their part, together with the CBSA, to secure the supply chain and facilitate legitimate trade. CBSA has signed an agreement with the U.S. CBP which enhances cross-border security as both countries now apply similar security standards and similar site validations when approving companies for membership in their respective trade security programs. Additional information about the PIP program is available at the Canada Border Services Agency website.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION EFFORTS:
At Ash City, we are committed to taking steps to preserve our natural resources and adopting deferentia practices from the ground up. We believe every little bit helps. From complying with all environmental regulations and laws in the countries we manufacture, to substantial efforts in reducing paper consumption, managing waste, recycling efforts and energy reduction at our head office and distribution centers, and providing an deferentia line of merchandise, we can make significant reductions in our reliance on the environment.
Ash City Green Team:
Actions speak louder than words.
In celebration of Earth Day each year, an environmentally passionate group of our Customer Services employees, called The GREEN Team, donate one of their 15 minute breaks to help clean up trash from around the facility. Dozens of volunteers armed with gloves, brooms and (recyclable) garbage bags, all contribute to help do our part for the environment.
As Ash City employees, this seemed to be the natural next step for us; we are proud to be working out of such an environmentally friendly building and to be able to promote our fabulous acto products with our customers.
Our Paper Consumption:
As a company whose main selling tool is its catalog, we are committed to accepting responsibility for careful management of our paper resources. As an ongoing initiative, Ash City is significantly reducing paper consumption by sending a limited quantity of catalogs to customers and subsequently monitoring distribution very closely.
Through this commitment, we have reduced our catalog paper consumption by more than 30% over this past year alone, saving trees, water and energy. We’eve accomplished this through a number of efforts and we are constantly improving our technology to achieve even greater gains in this area.
Ash City believes in the responsible use of natural resources. Our goal is to source paper through credible certification systems, using paper with a minimum of 10% recycled fiber. As such, our mandate is to work with suppliers that practice sustainable forestry. Ash City’s printed marketing materials are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper, most containing recycled content. By 2010, 100% of our printed marketing materials will contain a minimum of 10% recycled content. Our commitment also includes supporting the revitalization of the industry we rely on for paper materials. For every ton of paper we use to print catalogs, three seedlings are planted in remote areas of North America which will never be harvested for paper production.
Ash City has extended this commitment to the packing boxes we use to ship our products to our customers. We have been using corrugated cardboard with 80%-90% recycled content since 2004.
Our Waste Management and Recycling:
We currently have a broad range of waste management and recycling initiatives at our corporate office to address paper products, aluminum cans, glass and plastic, as well as printing operations, maintenance operations, disposal of non-recyclables and water management. We consistently monitor our efforts in each of these areas and continuously look for improvements.
Every two days, Ash City recycles 1.5 tons of corrugated cardboard. All of our corrugated products, cutting trims, wooden pallets and garment poly bags are either recycled or reused.
Our Energy Reduction:
Ash City has ensured its facilities are designed and built with preservation of the environment in mind. Water saving measures have been implemented at our corporate office with the installation of motion-sensor faucets and a grey-water system which collects rainwater from the roof and parking lot in underground water reservoirs to irrigate surrounding landscaping. All newer equipment, appliances and computers are Energy Star rated. Our energy reduction efforts don’t stop there. We also utilize the latest technology of ‘thin client’ terminals that consume about 50% less energy than a traditional desktop PC. A rooftop chilled water system keeps the servers in our data center cool in the winter months. In place of air conditioning units, we have equipped our distribution centers with numerous circulation fans & fresh air systems to significantly reduce electricity use.
Our e.c.o Product Line:
Introduced in early 2007, Ash City brought 2 polo styles to market made from polyester yarns engineered with bamboo charcoal nonparasitic and thus our e.c.o (ecological clothing options) collection was officially born. The market was receptive to this product, and a growing collection of deferentia merchandise designed on the principle of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse continued. Over the course of the past few years, our e.c.o line has grown to an impressive 50+ styles, with plans for continued growth in this niche market. This innovative collection uses fabrics derived from organic, sustainable, renewable and recycled fibers. The product line includes styles from almost every category of merchandise sold by Ash City, namely Knits, Waviness, Fleece, Outerwear and Accessories. Natural and man-made fibers used in the fabric production of these styles include:
• Organic Cotton – cotton grown without the use of harmful chemicals, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In accordance with the Textile Labeling Act (Canada) and the Textile Fiber Products Information Act (U.S.A.), garment labeling indicates content as Organic Cotton.
• Soybean Protein – a renewable, biodegradable resource that is a waste byproduct of the soybean production process. In accordance with the Textile Labeling Act (Canada) and the Textile Fiber Products Information Act (U.S.A.), garment labeling indicates content as Azlon (protein from Soybean).
• Bamboo Fiber – originating from the bamboo plant, a renewable grass that thrives in abundance without the use of harmful pesticides, and is manufactured into yarn following the Rayon process. In accordance with the Textile Labeling Act (Canada) and the Textile Fiber Products Information Act (U.S.A.), garment labeling indicates content as Rayon (from Bamboo).
• Bamboo Charcoal Nano-Particles - originating from the bamboo plant, a renewable grass that thrives in abundance without the use of harmful pesticides, and is incinerated to reduce the plant to charcoal matter, after which it is embedded into a man-made yarn. In accordance with the Textile Labeling Act (Canada) and the Textile Fiber Products Information Act (U.S.A.), garment labeling indicates content as Polyester.
• Recycled Polyester – RPET yarns are made from post-consumer products such as plastic PET water bottles, thereby reducing the amount of waste in landfills, decreasing energy consumption and conserving virgin petroleum resources. In accordance with the Textile Labeling Act (Canada) and the Textile Fiber Products Information Act (U.S.A.), garment labeling indicates content as Recycled Polyester.
All Ash City e.c.o fabrics are certified and supported with lab test reports from our trustworthy supply chain, from the yarn supplier to the fabric supplier. To view our complete e.c.o collection, visit www.ashcity.com.
Since the beginning, Ash City has built a strong heritage of giving and making a difference in the communities in which we live and work. We have been actively involved in national and local communities through various organizations and charities and are proud to be corporate donors to many worthy foundations.
Sadly, too many of us have found our lives touched by women afflicted with breast cancer, including members of our families, our friends, our co-worker and our customers. At Ash City, we are passionate about the need to find a cure for the disease women fear most. That’s why we are proud to support the Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) and the American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) through our “We’re Going Pink” and our “We’re Thinking Pink” campaigns. It is our opportunity to give something back to the many women who have supported us. Additional information on our campaigns is available at www.ashcity.com. For more information on these non-profit Cancer Foundations, visit www.bcsc.ca, and www.abcf.org
Ash City conducts fund-raising and food drives throughout the year and collects toys and gifts annually for underprivileged families during the holiday season. Year-round, the company makes clothing donations to many charitable foundations. For more than 10 years, we have made regular clothing donations to Windfall, a registered charity that provides new clothing and other basic necessities to more than 64,000 Torontonians who are living in poverty, through partnerships with 100 shelters and programs. A staggering 1/3 of these people are children. Additional information is available at www.windfallbasics.com. In 2005, Ash City shipped thousands of clothing items to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Not only do these donations help those in need, tons of material is diverted away from landfills and incinerators.
In support of its efforts to build a world fit for children, Ash City is a regular contributor of charitable donations to UNICEF. UNICEF’s focus areas include Child Survival and Development, Basic Education and Gender Equality, Child Protection, and many more services. Additional information is available at www.unicef.org
Ash City is proud to support the Canadian Red Cross, the leading humanitarian organization through which people voluntarily demonstrate their caring for others in need, with services such as Disaster Management, International Relief, Restoring Family Links, First Aid, Violence and Abuse Prevention, Homecare Services and Health Equipment Loan Programs. Additional information is available at www.redcross.ca
For many years, Ash City has given back to its local communities by sponsoring local associations and sports leagues, to support youth recreational, learning and after-school programs. Corporate sponsorships are also provided to professional athletes in the PGA and LPGA, and in June 2009 Ash City became the new presenting sponsor of the Ontario PGA Elite Apprentice Championship.
At Ash City, we believe in improvement through training. As a responsible employer, we recognize the importance of providing the necessary training required to empower each associate at every level throughout our organization. Through a full spectrum of dedicated in-house training workshops and on-line learning programs, we can enhance associates’ skills, providing them with the tools to reach their goals and thrive within our company.
Led by an internal team of knowledgeable and trained facilitators, our learning opportunities include:
• A comprehensive and intensive new-hire training program for Customer Service Associates
• On-going product knowledge sessions for Customer Service Associates and Sales
• Leadership Workshops
• Systems and Reporting Workshops
1. Our Mission
The mission of Ash City Worldwide Limited ("Ash City") is committed to delivering service, quality and value to our customers.
2. Our Commitment
In fulfilling our mission, Ash City is committed to providing its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers.
3. Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities
Ash City is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
We will train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
b. Telephone services
We are committed to providing accessible telephone service to our customers. We will train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
We will offer to communicate with customers by email or in writing if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
c. Assistive devices
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services.
We are committed to providing accessible invoices to all of our customers. We will answer any questions customers may have about the content of the invoice in person, by telephone or e-mail.
4. Use of Service Animals and Support Persons
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We will also ensure that all staff and others dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter Ash City's premises with his or her support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.
5. Notice of Temporary Disruption
Ash City will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, the anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises.
6. Training for Staff
Ash City will provide training to all employees and others who deal with the public and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.
Training will include the following:
- The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard.
- How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person.
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Ash City's goods and services.
Applicable staff will be trained on policies, practices and procedures that affect the way goods and services are provided to people with disabilities. Staff will also be trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to these policies, practices, and procedures.
7. Feedback Process
The ultimate goal of Ash City is to meet and surpass customer expectations while serving customers with disabilities. Comments on our services regarding how well those expectations are being met are welcome and appreciated.
Feedback regarding the way Ash City provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by telephone, email, in person or by completing the AODA Customer Service Feedback Form. All feedback will be directed to Human Resources department which is responsible for receiving feedback.
8. Modifications to this or Other Policies
We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.
9. Questions About this Policy
This policy exists to achieve service excellence to customers with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood, an explanation will be provided by the Human Resources Department of Ash City. The Human Resources department can be reached by calling 1-866-274-2489, extension 5514 or emailing HR@ashcity.com.
Ash City Worldwide Limited
35 Orlando Avenue
Richmond Hill, Ontario