Ethical and Fair Trade policies
Since we started in 1989, we have been committed to ethical trade.
Wherever we do business, either in the UK or overseas, we are committed to doing our best to deliver a high standard of ethical conduct. For us, it's not enough to simply comply with legal requirements; we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our relationships, and work closely with everyone involved in the Nomads journey.
We require complete transparency in our production process and ask all suppliers to sign up to our Code of Conduct. All except the very smallest have SEDEX certification, some are also GOTS certified. We visit our suppliers in India regularly twice a year to ensure our standards are being met. Over the past year due to COVID-19 restrictions we have not travelled to India from the UK but our India based production manager has still maintained regular contact and visits when safe to do so, to support all of our suppliers. We have also had regular video conference meetings with each supplier to support them and discuss orders, production and to help with any questions they may have. We personally know where our products are made and have a good relationship with each factory, one of which we have been working with for 25 years.
Certifications and memberships:
GOTS certification (license number DK26875)
Nomads is a GOTS certified Company. All steps in the processing, manufacturing and trading of organic textiles must be certified to strict ecological and social criteria. GOTS certification is the gold standard for sustainable processing of textiles. The guidelines are strictly adhered to, and the verification process is carried out by independent companies, with facilities being physically inspected to verify standards are met.
Nomads is a member of BAFTS Fairtrade Network (British Association of Fairtrade Shops and Suppliers) , a network of independent shops and suppliers dedicated to promoting Fair Trade retail in the UK. BAFTS provides a structure of accountability to its members who adhere to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade as set out by the World Fairtrade Organization (WFTO). Membership is determined by peer-to-peer assessment which takes place annually and ensures that members can provide evidence of their fulfilment of the 10 Principles of Fair Trade.
We are proud members of Common Objective, an innovative online platform with a big ambition – to take sustainable fashion from niche to norm. All members have one common objective – to build businesses that have a positive impact on people and the environment, and we work together to provide complete transparency in our production and supply chains. Common Objective builds on ten years of work by the Ethical Fashion Forum, which now reaches a global network spanning 141 countries.
10 principles of Fair Trade
Our fair trade policy ensures that both us and all of our suppliers follow the 10 principles of Fair Trade:
Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
Supporting organic farmers, ensuring a continued income through reorders.
Working with smaller producers to help support and grow them.
Using traditional fabrics such as handloom, Ikat and tie-dye to support the smaller producers that make them. Read more about our fabrics here
Many of our suppliers are independent family businesses that we have worked with for many years.
The entire Nomads collection is produced in India
Transparency & Accountability
We require our suppliers to sign a Code of Conduct to commit to upholding our standards. Read our Code of Conduct here.
Good relationship and communication with all suppliers including seasonal visits and regular meetings as well as employing a Nomads production manager in India who works directly with our suppliers to support them on a day-to-day basis.
Long term relationships help with meeting this principle – some suppliers we have worked with and grown with for over 20 years. Read more about our suppliers here.
We ask our suppliers to provide us with transaction certificates so that we can trace the source of our fabrics and check the supply chain from start to finish.
Independent annual audits are carried out by SEDEX or GOTS for our factories: 4 of our factories are annually audited by SEDEX, 1 is GOTS certified with an annual audit, 1 is personally audited by Nomads only due to the small set-up of the supplier, and 1 supplier is WFTO certified.
Fair Trading Practices
We have a “critical path” schedule which enables us to give realistic estimates of a fair time required for all stages of production. We take into consideration extra time required for special techniques such as embroidery and tie dye.
To ensure that suppliers do not go into debt we prepay a percentage of the goods when we order. That way they can pass this payment onto the printers and dyers etc to ensure that payments are reaching everyone fairly through the supply chain.
We provide our suppliers with our own exclusive designs and original prints.
We incorporate traditional skills of smaller groups such as hand tie dye and handloom to help keep these ancient crafts alive and provide income for these skilled artisans. Read about our Artisan Methods here.
Once we have placed an order with a supplier we honour the order and do not cancel it, unless requested to do so by the supplier eg. due to a supply issue.
We work on building long term relationships with our suppliers, some of whom we have worked with for over 20 years.
We work on increasing orders over time to help suppliers to grow with us.
Payment of a fair price
Cost of goods is worked out fairly.
All workers are paid at or above the national minimum wage and we are working with suppliers towards all workers being paid a Local Living Wage.
Men and women are paid equally for same work.
We pay producers in advance so that they do not go into debt buying materials.
Ensuring no child labour and forced labour
No children under the age of 16 make our clothing
No forced labour. All employees are working of their own free will.
Workers are provided regular breaks and holidays.
Excessive working hours are not allowed.
We are aware that Modern Slavery is a hidden issue in society and are committed to vigilance and will not accept this anywhere in our supply chain.
Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Gender Equity & Freedom of Association
We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind
Employees have freedom of association to join trade unions if available and the right to collective bargaining.
Our suppliers have fair-opportunities employment policies and some employ socially disadvantaged people including those with learning and physical difficulties.
Pensions are available as well as holidays, in accordance with government legislation.
We work with our factories towards equality for men and women in both pay and opportunity. Men and women are paid equally for same work.
Ensuring Good Working Conditions
Health and safety is regulated and upheld to set good standards, as are working hours set to be fair under government legislation.
Excessive working hours are not allowed.
Nomads and our suppliers provide safe and clean working conditions including allowing for the safe working of staff regarding COVID-19 precautions.
We do not tolerate harsh or inhumane treatment
We personally audit the working conditions and health and safety provisions in place at each of our suppliers during our seasonal visits, twice a year, and work with our suppliers on any improvements needed. Our suppliers are also audited annually by SEDEX or GOTS. Read more about our GOTS certification here.
Providing Capacity Building
Suppliers use units where smaller groups of crafts people do the specialist work such as Tie-dye, Ikat and Handloom. This helps to develop these skills and provide income with smaller groups. Read about our Artisan Methods here.
As our orders increase with each supplier we work with them to ensure they can manage their business growth, and they have the support of our India based production manger to help them with that. As we are in regular contact with our suppliers on a daily basis, we can help with any difficulties that may arise with increased production.
We promote our small producers by passing on their details to other Fairtrade producers, when asked, to try to help them build their customer base. We have also shown the work of small producers at trade shows to help grow their business through new customers and access new markets.
Promoting Fair Trade
We provide information about our suppliers and our fair trade values on our website, in e-shots and through social media. We celebrate Fair Trade Fortnight and World Fair Trade Day to highlight the benefits of fair trade and to focus on the artisans and their skills.
We are increasing awareness for the need to shop responsibly and to push the multi-nationals into working towards fair trade on a global level.
We are proud members of Common Objective, an innovative online platform with a big ambition – to take sustainable fashion from niche to norm. All members have one common objective – to build businesses that have a positive impact on people and the environment, and we work together to provide complete transparency in our production and supply chains. Visit the Common Objective website >
We support and promote the Fashion Revolution movement who promote greater transparency in the fashion industry to show ‘Who made my clothes?’ and ‘What’s in my clothes’ Visit the Fashion Revolution website >
Respect for the Environment
We consider the impact on the environment that each step of our journey takes, and actively seek to use environmentally friendly materials and methods at every opportunity.
Our packaging is plastic free and fully biodegradable. The individual garment packaging is made from non-gmo cornstarch so are compostable. Online orders are sent in a brown paper package, made from FSC sustainable sources. Exterior packaging is cardboard and is either reused or recycled. Read more about our packaging here.
Our electricity supply to our head office, warehouse and retail shop is 100% zero carbon.
We only travel when essential for business and choose the method of transport available with the least impact.
We only use natural fibres in our products and the farming and harvesting of these does not contribute to habitat loss or destruction. Read more about our natural fibres here.
We use sustainable fabrics and our collection consists of 50% GOTS certified Organic Cotton, 30% Non-organic cotton, 15% Sustainable Viscose, 5% Lyocell in summer or 5% Ecovera in winter. Read more about our natural fibres here.
GOTS certified organic cotton – 50% of the collection – Organic cotton is always the best choice of cotton because it’s the kindest to the environment, the growers and to the wearer. Grown naturally, the soil maintains good levels of fertility and the fact that no harmful chemicals are used not only makes it better for the environment, but also for the cotton growers themselves. Learn more about organic cotton here
Non-organic cotton- 30% of the Collection – we use a proportion of non-organic cotton. All of our cotton is locally sourced in India and we ask our factories for transaction certificates so that we can trace the origins of the cotton to check that it is fair trade. Read more about our cotton here.
Viscose – 15% of the collection – Viscose is made from FSC certified wood pulp so is a natural fibre that is both breathable and biodegradable. Our viscose fabric fibres are sourced from Birla viscose who use the ‘Closed Loop’ system and adhere to strict environmental policies. Read more about our Viscose here.
Lyocell – 5% of the SS collection– an eco-friendly fabric that is made from FSC certified wood pulp, and produced in a ‘Closed Loop’ system, and more eco-friendly than regular viscose. Read more about our Lyocell here.
Lenzing Ecovera – 5% of the AW collection– A new eco friendly fabric that we have introduced for AW21. Produced to high environmental standards, using less water and less emissions than regular viscose. Read more about our Ecovero here.
We do not use Formaldehyde, Azo, Phthalates, Alkylphenols or PVC in any form – which are harmful chemicals commonly used in the fast fashion industry.
We do not use abrasive treatments to create our garments including sandblasting, bleaching, stonewashing.
Employees in the factories are given information and training to conserve energy and not waste water and environment protection training is given to the workers.
Water recycling plants are used at our factories and fabric mills.
All factory discharges are within legal limits and have minimal impact on the environment and people.
Our goods are shipped by sea as much as possible. We aim to have 100% sea shipped but this is not always possible. Only in cases where our suppliers have faced delays do we sometimes have to air freight garments.
Our fabrics and trims are all locally sourced in India to reduce the carbon footprint of every garment.
Waste paper, glass and plastic from our offices are recycled as is all recyclable waste.
Ultimately, we design and make beautiful clothes that last so that they can be worn over and over again, and aim to increase the awareness of the need to shop responsibly, and to prove that it is more than possible to live a stylish, sustainable life.
We inevitably end up with some garments that we cannot sell, as well as development samples. These garments are perfectly wearable, so we donate them to Newlife, a charity that provides help and support to children with disabilities or terminal illnesses and their families. The garments get sold in their shops to raise money and this way all garments are used and nothing goes to landfill. Read more about Newlife here.
Our suppliers work hard on efficient pattern lays to reduce waste fabric, however, each season inevitably there are some left over fabrics from our production. This does not go to landfill. Fabrics are repurposed in one of the following ways – used to make the next seasons 1st fit development samples, used up to make bags that we then sell online, sold on locally to fabric shops to be resold and used. All small bits of scrap fabrics are either sold to scrap dealers who use them to make rugs for local market or are recycled as whole wastage lots back to yarn.
Respect for Animal Welfare
Our collection is 99% vegan. The only non-vegan product we use is the occasional use of buttons made from mother of pearl shells. We feel that this is better than using plastic as they are bio-degradable and uses up a waste material. Please see individual product listings for fabric and trimmings content.
We do not use wool, silk, leather, fur or feathers anywhere in our collections.
No animal products are used in the making of the dyes, and they are not tested on animals.
TAMWED - Linking communities in the UK and India
TAMWED (Tamil Nadu/West Devon) is a non-profit charity, which grew out of professional and social connections between people in Devon, England and NGOs in south India. Since 1997 training and exchanges between India and the UK have been organised by a Devon community organisation called WESTDEN. After the 2004 tsunami, WESTDEN joined local people who have an interest in south India to meet and consider how they could offer long term support and to bring communities in these countries closer together.
By 2006 TAMWED was formed as a registered charity with the objective of helping to overcome poverty in areas of southern India that have the greatest need. Current projects deal with community health, herbal medicine and climate change, the most important issues affecting the lives of some of the poorest and most isolated rural communities. TAMWED is a voluntary organisation that is entirely dependent on donors.
Nomads supports TAMWED through donations from our profits which help to support a community health project. Due to climate change and reduced rainfall, the land used for farming was no longer yielding enough crops. This project involves growing herbs which require less rainfall and teaches the community how to use herbs for natural medicine and diet. This saves them the cost of medicine and the long journeys needed to receive treatments. The gardens are also used to grow fruit and vegetables, some of which are sold along with the surplus herbs to provide a vital income.
Visit the TAMWED website to find out about current fund-raising events and how you can get involved.
Newlife – the charity for disabled children
We inevitably end up with some garments that we cannot sell, for one reason or another. These garments are perfectly wearable, so we donate them to Newlife, a charity that provides help and support to children with disabilities or terminal illnesses and their families.
All the profits from these donations go towards helping the charity grow, from paying for nurses and vital equipment, to gaining awareness through advertising campaigns.
We also raise money for Newlife through special promotions and donations of profits.
Visit the NEWLIFE website to find our more about this great charity, and how you can get involved.