Baptist World Aid is an Australian not-for-profit with a goal to end poverty. Their Ethical Fashion Guide is a tool to help consumers shop consciously and to encourage brands to affect positive change. This year’s report evaluated more than 400 Australian and New Zealand brands on their efforts improve conditions for workers and reduce their environmental impact within supply chains.
The assessment criteria underwent several changes this year to simplify the grading process and reflect where brands sit in relation to industry standard and their peers. One significant change was the removal of the plus (+) and minus (–) grades within the scoring system, apart from grade A. Receiving a ‘B’ grade means that Rip Curl is performing ‘at/above’ the industry average.
Shasta O’Loughlin, Rip Curl’s Environmental Social Governance Manager says that she was happy with the result and is looking forward to an even brighter future. “Providing Baptist World Aid with supporting documentation for the submission is no small task, though one we are committed to. This process keeps us accountable and provides a comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand rating for our customers.”
Since the company received its last grade in 2019, Rip Curl has made significant changes to improve sustainability and working conditions for factory workers and is looking to continue this forward momentum. “Rip Curl is proud to hold a B rating for this year's report, however, we will continue to strive for improvement to maintain and ideally improve our rating,” continues Shasta.
Over the past two years Rip Curl has aligned its internal policies and procedures through Elevate, the industry leader in sustainability and supply chain services globally. Working with Elevate has given factory workers a voice via detailed interviews, to ensure that the people making Rip Curl products feel increasingly safe and supported. Additionally, Rip Curl has implemented a new grievance mechanism to promote the reporting of misconduct and has become a proud member of the Fair Labour Association (FLA) and Sustainable Apparel coalitions (SAC).
Regarding the environment, Rip Curl has increased the use of sustainable fibres in a range of different products and has recently launched Australia’s first wetsuit take-back program with global recycling leader, TerraCycle. The company is also looking at ways to reduce its carbon footprint, after verifying greenhouse gas emissions for global operations to better understand the impacts the business has on the environment.
Rip Curl will continue to be guided by Baptist World Aid’s sentiment that fashion brands have the greatest power to affect change in the global fashion industry and looks forward to a fairer and more sustainable future.