The textile industry has started to transition from linear to circular supply chains, as such the volume of textile waste needed as feedstock for recycling technologies is increasing and will continue to rise. As an integral part of the waste ecosystem, the existing waste handling community needs to formalize to fulfil the needs of scaling recycling companies. Waste often flows through unregulated and informal channels, and for textile fibre recyclers this is especially evident with post-industrial textile waste and how it is managed across Asia and Central/South America.
Resilient and transparent supply chains are an advantage for any company. Social compliance or a Code of Conduct (CoC) to which waste handlers adhere, gives the sourcing company peace of mind on the subjects of labour welfare and safety. It also ensures that the supply chain is operating with ethical principles and is undoubtedly a logical extension needed within the fashion industry as circular supply chains scale.
At Reverse Resource we have successfully partnered with the waste handler community and are committed to helping them formalise and bring about the standardisation needed to scale transparent circular supply chains. Inclusivity is key, our approach is to allow companies who might not reach all the compliance standards to participate in the scaling of circular supply chains whilst following a plan to formalize and comply with the requirements of large recycling companies and their brand partners in a timely manner.
The result and main focus of this work are to improve the livelihoods and working conditions of the people working in the textile waste sector.
The ambition of Reverse Resources is to create a unified code of conduct, making it easier and more accessible for waste handlers to adopt and enable efficient monitoring for global recycling companies and clothing brands.
Reverse Resources and its recycling partners have agreed to collaborate on this topic and utilize projects such as the Circular Fashion Partnership and others to solve some of the key challenges identified below that waste handlers will encounter when formalizing.
The following Code of Conduct for Waste Handlers is a work in progress. New updates will be uploaded on this page.
If you want to participate in the creation of this document, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reverse Resources CoC for Waste Handlers
Compliance level 1 - Critical:
Human rights violations and business behaviour that may endanger the independence of the audit are to be distinguished from regular social performance findings and may qualify as possible zero tolerance or critical cases.
All waste handlers on the Reverse Resources platform will comply with these requirements firstly by accepting waste handler terms and conditions on the platform. Secondly, they should provide all documentation and declarations within 4 months of working on the RR platform.
This level of compliance should require no significant investment (except time).
Compliance level 2 - Major:
Systemic violations of the local law including and not limited to conditions which could have an impact on workers' basic health and safety, issues that need on-site interviews, non-transparency, and persistent non-adherence to non-compliances are highlighted as major non-compliances.
Will require improvements to existing documents/contracts and/or facilities and processes that can be implemented with a small investment. Level 2 compliance is aligned with local law requirements. The signing and implementation of written declarations should be reached within XX months of being active on the RR platform. Level 2 compliance could bring about an increase in cost for the waste handling services.Compliance level 3 - Minor:
Occasional or isolated cases of local/national law violation, non-compliances which do not affect a large number of people, and compliances that don’t require onsite verification.
Can be implemented with a more significant investment. Level 3 compliance is aligned with industry best practices. Compliance should be reached within XX months of being active on the RR platform. Level 3 compliance will bring about an increase in cost for the waste handling services.
Proof of compliance & comments
1. Workers’ Rights
1.1. Forced and compulsory labour
ILO Conventions No. 29 and No. 105
1.1.1 There shall be no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour.
1.1.2 Workers shall not be required to lodge deposits or identity papers with their employer and shall be free to leave their employer after reasonable notice.
1.2. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
ILO Conventions No. 87, No. 98, No. 135 and No. 154
1.2.1 Workers, without distinction, shall have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively. The employer shall not interfere with or obstruct the formation of unions or collective bargaining.
1.2.2 Workers' representatives shall not be discriminated against and shall have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.
1.2.3 Where the right to freedom of association and/or collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer shall facilitate, and not hinder, the development of alternative forms of independent and free workers’ representation and negotiations.
1.3. Child Labour
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Conventions No. 138, No. 182 and No. 79, and ILO Recommendation No. 146
1.3.1 The minimum age for workers shall not be less than 15 and comply with i) the national minimum age for employment, or; ii) the age of completion of compulsory education, whichever of these is higher. If the local minimum is set at 14 years in accordance with developing country exceptions under ILO Convention 138, this lower age may apply.
1.3.2 There shall be no recruitment of child labour defined as any work performed by a child younger than the age(s) specified above.
1.3.3 No person under the age of 18 shall be engaged in labour that is hazardous to their health, safety or morals, including night work.
1.3.4 Policies and procedures for remediation of child labour prohibited by ILO conventions no. 138 and 182, shall be established, documented, and communicated to personnel and other interested parties. Adequate support shall be provided to enable such children to attend and complete compulsory education.
ILO Conventions No. 100 and No.111 and the UN Convention on Discrimination Against Women
1.4.1 There shall be no discrimination at the workplace in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on ethnic background, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.
1.4.2 Measures shall be established to protect workers from sexually intrusive, threatening, insulting or exploitative behaviour, and from discrimination or termination of employment on unjustifiable grounds, e.g. marriage, pregnancy, parenthood or HIV status.
1.5. Harsh or Inhumane Treatment
1.5.1 Physical abuse or punishment, or threats of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse, as well as other forms of intimidation, is prohibited.
1.6. Health and Safety
ILO Convention No. 155 and ILO Recommendation No. 164
1.6.1 In terms of building safety, we require our suppliers and other business partners to make employees' safety a priority at all times. No hazardous equipment or unsafe buildings are accepted.
Critical: Min. written declaration
Major: legal requirement (building stability certificate)
1.6.2 The working environment shall be safe and hygienic, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Hazardous chemicals and other substances shall be carefully managed. Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with, or occurring in, the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.
1.6.3 Fire Safety: Emergency exits on all floors must be clearly marked, well lit and unblocked all the way out of the building. Evacuation through emergency exits must always be possible during working hours. Everyone working on the premises, including managers and guards, must be regularly trained in how to act in case of fire or other emergencies. Regular evacuation drills for all employees are required; evacuation plans and fire fighting equipment must be in place.
Fire fighting equipment
Emergency exits are unblocked and unlocked at all times
1.6.4 Workers shall receive regular and documented health and safety training, and such training shall be repeated for new or reassigned workers.
1.6.5 Access to clean toilet facilities and potable water, and, if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage shall be provided.
1.6.6 Pregnant or breastfeeding women are not obliged to perform work which may be prejudicial to the health of the mother or the child and they will be provided with reasonable accommodation for their needs.
ILO Convention No. 131
1.7.1 Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week shall as a minimum meet national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. Wages should always be enough to meet basic needs, including some discretionary income.
Min. national legal standards
Be enough to meet basic needs
1.7.2 All workers shall be provided with a written and comprehensible contract outlining their wage conditions and method of payments before entering employment.
1.7.3 Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted.
1.7.4 Employees have to receive written and understandable information about their wage conditions upon their recruitment, and detailed information about the particulars of their wages every time that these are paid.
1.7.5 All fringe benefits required by law or contract shall be provided. The employee shall be granted and correctly compensated for any type of paid leave to which they are legally entitled.
1.7.6 Payments shall be made on time, on a regular basis and in the manner that best suits the workers.
1.8. Working Hours
ILO Convention No. 1 and No. 14
1.8.1 Working hours shall comply with national laws and benchmark industry standards, and not more than prevailing international standards. Weekly working hours should not be on a regular basis more than 48 hours.
1.8.2 Workers shall be provided with at least one day off for every 7-day period.
1.8.3 Overtime shall be limited and voluntary. Recommended maximum overtime is 12 hours per week, i.e. that the total working week including overtime shall not exceed 60 hours. Exceptions to this are accepted when regulated by a collective bargaining agreement.
1.8.4 Workers shall always receive overtime pay for all hours worked over and above the normal working hours (see 1.8.1 above), minimum in accordance with relevant legislation.
1.9. Regular Employment
1.9.1 Obligations to employees under international conventions, national law and regulations concerning regular employment shall not be avoided through the use of short-term contracting (such as contract labour, casual labour or day labour), sub-contractors or other labour relationships.
1.9.2 All workers are entitled to a contract of employment in a language they understand.
1.9.3 The duration and content of apprenticeship programmes shall be clearly defined.
1.9.4 Employer must not use labour-only contracting, sub-contracting or home-working arrangements apprenticeship schemes or other deviation methods if such measures are only taken in order to avoid regular employment which would obligate him to comply with the applicable labour or social security laws.
2.1. Measures to minimize adverse impacts on human health and the environment
2.1.1 Throughout the entire value chain, we make sure to have a positive impact on human health and the environment. This includes minimizing pollution, promoting efficient and sustainable use of resources, including energy and water, and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions in production and transport. All Business Partners in Reverse Resources network shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding environmental management and continuously endeavour to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations.
2.2. Product Safety
2.2.1 All partners in the supply chain shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding the safety of products manufactured and shall meet applicable recognized voluntary industry standards for Reverse Resources partners’ products and processes.
2.3. Animal Welfare
2.3.1 Measures to improve standards of animal welfare shall be taken at all times.
2.4.1 All Business Partners shall efficiently manage the use of biological resources across the business and be sensitive to the impacts of farming of such biological resources and endeavour to follow best practices of biological resource management in the sector. The local environment at the production site shall not be exploited or degraded but rather sustained. Any impacts due to operations on biodiversity and biological resources are to be minimized and mitigated.
3.1. Integrity and Privacy
3.1.1 The rules of conduct in this Code of Conduct are not exhaustive; they complete the policies, procedures and other rules concerning worker and employee behaviour as Business Partners. To ensure that high standards of ethics and integrity are maintained, all Business Partner employees must adhere to the following principles:
• You will obey all applicable national and local laws, rules, regulations and Company policies and procedures;
• You are open and honest in your business dealings and treat others with dignity, respect and fairness;
• You will not engage in an activity that places anyone’s health or safety in danger; • You will not verbally, physically, or sexually harass others;
• You will not discriminate against individuals because of age, race, ancestry, colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation, or for any other reasons prohibited by law; • You will respect the privacy of information belonging to customers, suppliers, shareholders, fellow employees and anyone with whom they do business; • You will not use or disclose confidential and proprietary information of Reverse Resources and its partners without proper authorization;
• You will not take advantage of your position for the purpose of personal gain from information acquired through your employment.
3.4. Fraud or Theft
3.4.1 No one shall take any action that would cause the violation of applicable laws, rules and regulations. Employees and suppliers shall not allow, facilitate or participate directly or indirectly in fraudulent or illegal operations.
3.5.1 Corruption in any form is not accepted, including bribery, extortion, kickbacks and improper private or professional benefits to customers, agents, contractors, suppliers or employees of any such party or government officials.
3.5.2 Neither Reverse Resources and its partners nor any of its employees shall ever offer or accept illegal or unlawful monetary gifts or other forms of remuneration in order to secure business-related or private benefit or benefit for customers, agents or suppliers.
3.6. Marginalized Population
3.6.1 Production and the use of natural resources shall not contribute to the destruction and/or degradation of the resources and income base for marginalized populations, such as in claiming large land areas, use of water or other natural resources on which these populations are dependent.
3.7. Intellectual Property
3.7.1 Intellectual property comprises trademarks, domain names, patents, industrial designs, copyrights and trade secrets. Partners in the supply chain have a duty to protect Reverse Resources’ intellectual property, just as they have the obligation to respect that of others. Intellectual property is considered confidential information. Any invention, discovery, improvement work product, trade secret and other technological development made by suppliers or employees of Reverse Resources during his work or employment for/with Reverse Resources related directly or indirectly to the business of Reverse Resources, remains the property of Reverse Resources. Use of Reverse Resources trademarks and branded visual assets requires prior written authorization from Reverse Resources or signing of the Reverse Resources Trademark License Agreement by the Business Partner.
4. Compliance and Reporting
4.1.1 The Business Partner undertakes to have in force all the social, environmental and ethical requirements by Reverse Resources as set out in this Code of Conduct. In case any of the requirements are not yet in place at the time of signing the CoC, the Business Partner will propose an implementation plan to put in place the missing standards within a reasonable time.
4.1.2 Suppliers shall not assign any Reverse Resources-related work activities to third parties without the prior written authorization of Reverse Resources. Those who outsource any work shall be responsible for the enforcement of the Code by these third parties and their employees.
4.2. Request for Information
4.2.1 The Business Partner will document, in a reasonable manner, the activities he undertakes in order to comply with this code of conduct. Any requests for information pertaining to the application or interpretation of this Code of Conduct should be directed to: email@example.com
4.3. Verification of compliance
4.3.1 Reverse Resources may verify the compliance with this Code of Conduct by self-assessments, informal visits on our own or by third parties with or without notice in order to conduct formal audits of the Business Partner facilities and/or any subcontracted facility.
4.3.2 As a result of the evaluation, the Business Partner may be requested to implement certain improvement measures in a timely manner. Timelines for achieving compliance shall be reasonable and defined. Providing proof of correction to Reverse Resources for each non-compliance is also required.
4.3.3 Depending on the nature of the non-compliance, Reverse Resources may have the legal obligation to report the non-compliance to the appropriate authorities.
4.3.4 Reverse Resources reserves the right to terminate its business relationship with the Business Partner if the supplier commits a serious violation of this Code of Conduct or repeatedly violates these provisions.
Optional, could affect the final price of waste handling services.