JOINT PRESS RELEASE
London and Mumbai: CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance institution, and Jabong, a leading apparel-focused ecommerce platform in India, today announced that Jabong has become the first India-based company to join the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).
ETI is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights in global supply chains. ETI has more than 80 company members including international retailers, luxury fashion labels, supermarkets and a wide variety of suppliers. Launched in January 2012, Jabong.com is a successful online business which caters to the aspirations of modern India. It brings more than 125,000 products to Indian consumers for the first time, ranging from international high-street brands to Indian ethnic and designer labels. In March, it announced an exclusive agreement in India with UK high street brand Dorothy Perkins.
Jabong’s management team is committed to using its buying power to lead the way to better working conditions across the company’s supply chain. Jabong.com buys from more than 4,000 local suppliers which employ, directly or indirectly, thousands of workers. In January 2014, CDC committed to an investment of €20m in Jabong as part of a significant investment round to drive the growth of the business and improve its supply chain.
CDC’s David Easton, Investment Director, recognised the potential to work with Jabong to make a positive difference. He said,
“CDC was invited to invest because of our experience in India and track record of working to improve business standards and working conditions. We were delighted to find such a progressive management team with the commitment to work with us, and joining ETI highlights just how serious Jabong is about upholding labour rights standards and principles within its supply chain.”
ETI member companies adopt the ETI Base Code, which is an internationally recognised code of labour practice. Member companies are also expected to demonstrate a clear commitment to ethical trade, integrate ethical trade into their core business practices, work with suppliers to drive year-on-year improvements to working conditions and report openly and accurately about their activities and achievements. Jabong joins ETI as a Foundation stage member and will receive structured support and direction as it establishes the core elements of its ethical trading programme.
Praveen Sinha, Founder and Managing Director, Jabong.com, said of the ETI membership:
“We’re immensely proud to be ETI’s first company member in India. Jabong.com is working hard to be the best and biggest fashion destination in India; at the same time we recognise the responsibility that comes with it. We, as a company, have always focused on a long-term strategy and ethical trade practices can’t be ignored. ETI membership is an important step on the journey to improving the lives of supply chain workers and we’re delighted to have CDC’s partnership in getting there.”
Peter McAllister, ETI Director, said,
“We warmly welcome Jabong as our first India-based company member. India is a key sourcing country for many of our members and we are working with them to drive positive change for workers in a number of sectors including garments, sandstone and costume jewellery. Jabong joins at an exciting time; we have recently appointed an India-based team and our programme work is taking shape on the ground. We look forward to supporting Jabong in its ethical trade work and to the insights it will bring about operating in the Indian retail environment.”
CDC and Jabong have developed a Vendor Code of Conduct to protect the rights of supply chain workers, based on ETI’s Base Code. All new Jabong supply agreements will require commitment to the Code of Conduct, with more than 80 suppliers signed up since January. Jabong expects 100 per cent of its direct suppliers to be committed to the Code within two years.
Notes to Editors
CDC is the UK government-owned development finance institution that uses its own balance sheet to invest in the developing countries of Africa and South Asia. It has net assets of £2.8bn. CDC’s mission is to support the building of businesses in Africa and South Asia, creating jobs and making a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places. Under its strategy, announced in September 2012, CDC provides debt and direct investment to businesses as well as acting as a fund-of-funds investor. CDC now only makes new investment commitments in Africa and South Asia.
Jabong.com is India’s favourite fashion destination and caters to the fashion aspirations of modern India. With more than 1000 on-trend international high-street brands, sports labels to Indian ethnic and designer labels, there is everything and more for a consumer to choose from. The choice is huge. Read, over 125,000 styles. Besides collaborations with designers, international labels, Jabong.com also associates itself with major Bollywood blockbuster and brings in the new wave in fashion trends. Jabong.com offers innovative services like express delivery, 30-day return policy, open box delivery for prompt delivery and efficient service.
ETI is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe. ETI’s vision is a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination, and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity. ETI is funded through membership fees and grants from donors including the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Poor working conditions can often result from a wide range of political, social and economic factors. ETI believes that in order to bring about long-term, sustainable change to workers’ lives, the root causes of labour rights abuses must be tackled. It is not a certification or auditing body, but rather works in collaboration with stakeholders to identify labour rights issues and develop innovative solutions to address these.
ETI’s India-based programmes currently focus on three supply chains; garments from southern India, sandstone from Rajasthan and costume jewellery. In each programme, ETI company, trade union and NGOs members work with local governments and stakeholders to establish programmes that drive positive, long-lasting change for workers.