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Social Compliance

Social Compliance

Our Approach

Billabong International has had in place global social compliance programs for well over a decade, led by our people and our brands setting the expectation for social compliance. Our approach is as follows.

1) Making change from the ground up:

Youth focused and connected to our environment, change is championed from within. From the material we use, to how our products are made through to the footprint of our retail stores, we don't see an end point, just the opportunity to continually improve.

2) Independent audits and a focus on our core:

We've long undertaken audits of our supply chain and manufacturing processes to ensure social compliance. In 2015 we engaged global auditors Bureau Veritas to independently assess the compliance of the manufacturers in our supply chain on an ongoing basis. If, through the audit process, a factory does not receive a satisfactory score, corrective action plans are established and subsequent visits are then scheduled to ensure corrective measures have been actioned. The Social Audit program is based on our Code of Conduct which, amongst other things, reflects International Labour Organisation Standards.

We also financially back organisations such as SurfAid because of their focus on ensuring long-term change for local communities in some of the world's most iconic surfing destinations.

3) Engagement:

We engage with and learn from individuals and reputable organisations. We're always open to learning how we can improve and listen closely to feedback from the factory to retail floor.

Employees directly involved with supply chain are aware of the Code of Conduct and its compliance requirements.

4) Supply Chain

In 2015 the Billabong Group engaged international auditors Bureau Veritas to undertake ongoing, independent auditing of our supply chain for social compliance and quality control. This program focuses on continuous improvement rather than a one-time or annual accreditation.
Bureau Veritas evaluates our suppliers compliance based on our approved Code of Conduct , which contains standards equivalent to SA8000 and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).  

Our Code of Conduct requires compliance in a number of areas including:

  • Prohibition on child labour;
  • Prohibition on forced labour;
  • Prohibition on harassment, abuse and discrimination;
  • Ensuring a safe workplace including appropriate building or factory management, fair treatment of workers including hours undertaken and remuneration;
  • Not using materials and products that put workers at unnecessary risk;
  • Ensuring compliance with environmental, workplace and customs laws and regulations; and
  • No unauthorised sub-contracting of finished product manufacturing.

Wherever possible we also focus on the suppliers' suppliers – for example where cotton and other material is being sourced.

Rather than annual reporting, Bureau Veritas provides Billabong International with a continual update on what is happening across our global supply chain. Along with our sourcing team, our General Counsel and Company Secretary reviews our supply chain social compliance program. We've narrowed the number of suppliers we work with to ensure closer monitoring and understanding of our expectations.

We also engage with some of the leading NGO's that work in the Social Compliance area, and based on their feedback, updated policies with vendors.

5) Environment

Our environmental initiatives are people and brand driven.

Confronted with growing pollution on some of the world's best waves, Billabong developed a new boardshort material made out of recycled plastic bottles. To date, this initiative has prevented close to 100 million plastic bottles ending up in our oceans or landfills.

The Recycler boardshort has gone on to win numerous environmental and innovation awards. Xcel's exclusive, premium Quick Dry Lining is made from recycled polyester fibres, saving materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Kustom has collaborated with direct action conservation group Sea Shepherd in releasing the "Defend. Conserve. Protect." Collection. This limited collection of co-branded sneakers, sandals and t-shirts feature organic canvas constructions, recycled rubbers and organic cottons. The Company donates a portion of each sale to Sea Shepherd to help them defend ocean wildlife through their high profile campaigns.

At our offices and stores we also take steps to reduce our impact on the environment.

As an example, Billabong has been upgrading stores with energy efficient LED lighting, reducing energy consumption and reducing cooling loads from air conditioning.

6) The Core

We're focused on supporting grassroots change.

Brands such as Honolua run local events for their communities, while on a wider scale RVCA has long championed the arts community through its Artists Network Program (ANP). The ANP aims to showcase the talent of accomplished as well as unknown artists who inspire and push the boundaries of creativity.
Element has also developed a community oriented program, Elemental Awareness which aims to connect kids to nature through skateboarding, from kick flip to campfire.

In 2015, brand Billabong again renewed its long-term commitment to SurfAid.

SurfAid's core mission is to save the lives of women and children in remote areas – areas connected to us by surfing.

"SurfAid arose out of one surfer's desire to make a difference. Since then the quality and consistency of support from the surf community, anchored by Billabong, has enabled us to build and sustain a highly experienced, adaptable and motivated team. We are accredited with the New Zealand and Australian governments, who provide substantial funding along with major foundations, allowing us to leverage the support of the surf community to assist even more communities. We are now widely recognized for delivering high calibre, long-lasting, health and emergency preparedness programs. SurfAid has also led responses to help communities re-build their lives after major natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis." –Andrew Judge, CEO, SurfAid.