Close cart

Sustainability

Junkyard became part of Varner in 2019. Varner is a family-owned company that opened its first store in Oslo in 1962. Today, Varner is one of Scandinavia’s largest fashion groups.

Varner has sustainable development as a core value of its business activities. This means that Varner takes responsibility for the climate and the environment, people and consumers. The company does this by investing in more sustainable materials, following up on the people in the supply chain and working with a circular business model.

As part of Varner, Junkyard has access to resources for developing towards becoming more sustainable. One effect of this is that local staff at the production office – who are specialised in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, quality assurance and product safety – follow up on the production.

Junkyard develops its own design and concepts for its target group.

There are requirements for product safety and supplier follow-up for all external brands sold through Junkyard’s channels.

 

Production and supplier follow-up

Production markets

The main production areas are China, India, Bangladesh and Turkey – and we have established local offices in these countries.

Local presence and market knowledge are crucial in ensuring good follow-up on the workers in the supply chain.

Each office has employees who are specialists in corporate social responsibility (CSR) – as well as specialists in product quality.

Supplier follow-up

Respect for human rights and labour rights is fundamental to our production.

Our guidelines for production and supplier cooperation are based on the view that everyone is entitled to good working conditions in accordance with generally accepted human rights, labour law, acts and regulations.

We perform due diligence assessments. This is a circular model in which every step is part of the work to respect and show consideration for people, society and the environment.

Supplier follow-up in practice

We assess the actual conditions at our factories through inspections, factory visits, meetings, interviews and review of documentation.

CSR specialists employed by Varner perform factory inspections, both announced and unannounced.

Before a supplier can become a producer for Varner, the supplier and all factories that will be used in the production must undergo a long approval process.

Upon inspection:

  • The factory building and production facilities are inspected in relation to fire safety, evacuation plans and building safety.
  • Interviews are conducted with employees and management.
  • All the factory’s relevant documents, policies, certificates and licences are reviewed.

After inspection:

  • Any improvement plans are followed up by our employees.

 

Open factory lists

The Tier 1 factories with which Varner collaborates are publicly accessible in The Open Apparel Registry.

You will find the map here: Open Apparel Registry

 

External brand suppliers

At Junkyard you will find a selection of products from external brand suppliers in addition to our own brands and products.

The external brand suppliers themselves develop, design and manufacture the products they offer. This does not mean that they are exempt from Junkyard's and Varner's requirements in the areas of social sustainability and product safety.

All external brand suppliers must undergo an approval process before their products are admitted to our shops.

We perform an evaluation of the supplier's procedures for monitoring working conditions in their own supply chain, as well as procedures for product safety.

In this way, we work to ensure that all products in our shops are safe to use and produced under responsible conditions.

 

Description of risk areas

Human rights and labour rights

Focus areas

Various risk areas form the basis of how we work to handle the rights and safety of workers in our supply chain.

Our focus areas in our work with corporate social responsibility and labour rights are based on risk analyses. These are mapped by analysing risks related to countries, regions, extraction of materials and production processes.

Risk: The right to organise in a trade union

Participation in a trade union enables dialogue and fair negotiations between employees, managers, authorities and companies.

Varner holds courses on rights and responsibilities in the workplace as well as social dialogue courses for workers and factory management to address this problem.

Risk: Health and safety

The clothing industry involves a lot of manual work, use of machinery and chemicals as well as production sites with questionable building quality.

Varner has strict procedures for ensuring safe workplaces. This includes following up on, for example, building safety, escape routes and protective equipment.

Factory visits and inspections are important measures to identify hazards and ensure that improvements are implemented. We regularly monitor that health and safety courses are conducted for factory employees.

In Bangladesh, there has been special focus on fire and building safety since the Rana Plaza accident in 2013. Varner has signed the Accord Agreement, an agreement between companies and global trade unions on making the garment and textile industry safer.

Risk: Low wages

The minimum wage is not always enough to cover the basic needs of all workers. The risk of low wages is greater in the initial parts of the supply chain, for example on cotton farms and for workers engaged in raw material extraction. Changes must be led by companies, authorities and trade unions.

Varner has routines for pay practice and pay level

  • Pay practice: We examine various elements, including documentation of paid wages, bonuses, overtime pay, payslips and parental leave.
  • Pay levels: We demand that all factories pay at least the minimum wage. Many of our suppliers have wages above this level. But we see that we need to do more to increase the levels further.

 

Risk: Terms of employment and overtime

All working conditions must be formalised through a contract describing pay, working hours and period of notice, etc.

Extreme overtime may be due to pay and purchasing practices:

  • Too little time to complete orders can force workers to work overtime.
  • Low wages can force workers to take on overtime work to earn enough money.

Varner focuses on responsible purchasing methods through, among other measures:

  • Courses for buyers.
  • Supplier surveys to get feedback directly from the suppliers about whether they have enough time, good product descriptions, etc.

 

Risk: Discrimination and women’s rights

Requirements and expectations are made for suppliers to ensure that all work is treated equally. This has been agreed. Varner demands that everyone must be treated equally regardless of, for example, gender, orientation, background, ethnicity, political affiliation and religion.

All suppliers must have measures to protect employees from harassment and gender-based violence.

Women working in the textile industry face a risk of sexual harassment and violence, inferior positions, lower wages and contracts for shorter terms, etc.

Varner therefore collaborates with various organisations that work to protect women’s rights in the textile industry, including Social Awareness and Voluntary Education (SAVE) in India and Joint Ethical Trading Initiative (JETI) in Bangladesh.

 

Climate and environment

Reuse of surplus goods

All our surplus goods are donated to Fretex. Only clothing and products which have defects in manufacture and which do not meet our health, environment and safety requirements are destroyed for safety reasons. The clothes donated to Fretex are either sold, with the income being used for charity, or they are given away. Fretex recycles part of the clothes and passes on a certain share for energy production.

Recycling

Recycling is important for extraction of new resources. Using products and materials that have already been extracted and produced has a number of positive effects:

  • Reduced emissions.
  • Reduced water consumption.
  • Contributes to preservation of ecosystems.

Textile recycling is still not an effective measure for large quantities (not scalable). It is difficult to recycle textiles for new durable clothes.

Varner participates in projects aimed at the development of large-scale textile recycling.

Water consumption

The textile industry requires a lot of water throughout the production chain. We have a special responsibility to reduce water consumption. We take the following overall measures to achieve this:

  • Mapping the quantity of water used, ensuring that the factories have good water treatment systems, participating in initiatives in which industry players work together to reduce water consumption and choosing materials that require less water than conventional materials.
  • Making strict requirements for suppliers regarding water treatment, handling of chemicals, waste management and emissions.

 

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions from production and transport contribute to negative impacts on the climate and the environment. Measures taken by Varner to reduce emissions:

  • Mapping of production-related emissions: Where they occur and the quantities emitted.
  • Using more sustainable materials that cause less emissions than conventional materials.
  • Commitment through initiatives: Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action
  • Transport: Choosing transport by sea over transport by air, collaborating with companies that work actively to reduce emissions.

 

Animal protection

Animal welfare is an important part of a sustainable supply chain, and we impose requirements on our suppliers through Varner’s animal welfare policy.

Among other measures, we avoid animal fibres purchased from areas known for mistreatment of animals.

Examples of our bans: Fur, leather from endangered species and animal testing for cosmetics.

Animal welfare is also about taking care of ecosystems. Green areas must not be destroyed because animals must have sufficiently large habitats.

Engaging our customers

Varner offers products that contain more sustainable materials as a better alternative for our customers.

More sustainable materials must be clearly and visibly labelled on garments and in the web shop.

Good treatment of clothing is also important:

  • We must clearly share knowledge in stores and online about how to wash and take care for clothes.
  • We must have good washing instructions labelling on our garments.

 

For more information, consult Varner’s Sustainability Report:

Varner Sustainability Report 2021