Underworks

Foundation Member | Tracking Since February 2023

Underworks Sustainability Actions

Conscious Choice - Our Roadmap to 2030

Rather than telling a customer that a product is more sustainable, we would like to increase awareness amongst consumers on why they are choosing a particular product, based upon actively assessing the product’s fibre composition, the labour conditions, and its environmental impact. This is what Conscious Choice stands for; the customer making a conscious purchase for a product that has been made using preferred fibres (Pillar 1), better packaging (Pillar 2), has high environmental standards (Pillar 3), and like all of our products is ethically manufactured (Pillar 4). These criteria fall under our foundational Conscious Choice 4-pillar product labelling model. Products carrying this label will be produced using the most sustainable materials and packaging and with high social and environmental manufacturing standards.

Underworks & The WWF-Aust Partnership

We have joined forces with WWF-Australia to create the Wildlife Collection. where 5% of each sale will go towards supporting WWF’s goal to Regenerate Nature by 2030, an initiative that works to protect endangered animals such as the koala and tiger.

Pillar 1 - Preferred Materials

We can proudly report that all of our cotton is either from Better Cotton, Recycled Cotton or Organic Cotton. Additionally, we have started implementing other recycled materials, such as recycled polyester, made from plastic bottles, which has been diverted from landfill. We have a range of Bamboo socks. Bamboo crops are the fastest growing plant. Bamboo will constantly reproduce its self after harvesting. Pesticides are not required to grow this plant. Little water is needed to grow this crop. This range has also been certified by Oeko-tex to ensure there are no harmful substances. But it does not stop there, we are continuously innovating to become a pioneer in utilizing the most sustainable and innovative materials.

Pillar 2 - Better Packaging

We have pledged to transition away from single use plastics in our packaging and can confirm we have now transitioned away from plastic hangers and unnecessary films and coatings on our cardboard packaging, also using soy ink, making them recyclable. 95% of our collection is now recyclable.

Pillar 3 - Ethical Production

Our workplaces in Australia and China are regularly audited for ethical and safe work practices and they have been for 24 years. We have a zero-tolerance policy for child and forced labour and hold our manufacturers to very strict standards regarding award wages, overtime payments and providing a safe and humane place to work. As part of our ethical sourcing program all the factories we work with are regularly audited. This assures that our factories can be held accountable for worker wellbeing. In addition to, having to meet the standards set by our customers who sell our products, they must also pass audits of the recommended well-established global social compliance programs and be compliant with local law, whichever stricter. These social responsibility frameworks include SEDEX, WRAP and Amfori BSCI. To pass these audits, factories must comply with various stringent standards in the areas of labour rights and working conditions and health and safety and incorporate Conventions from the International Labour Organization. We only work with factories that respect their employees, pay living wages and provide a safe and fair place to work.

Pillar 4 - Environmental Standards

All our factories must sign our environmental and zero tolerance of hazardous chemicals policies. Our apparel factories are also audited using the third-party audit methodologies such as WRAP or Amfori BSCI. In each of these frameworks a Performance Area (Amfori BSCI) or Principle (WRAP) is dedicated to the protection of the environment. Our factories making products labelled with our Conscious Choice-products must score either an A or B on the Amfori BSCI audit or obtain a Gold or Platinum score on the overall audit.

Supporting a circular economy

We've partnered with Upparel to support a circular economy, advocate for garment and textile recylcling and help to educate our customers on the importance of mindful consumption and disposal. Recycle your old socks with Underworks and get 10% OFF your next order. Together with Upparel, we are closing the loop on textile waste and giving your old socks a new life. Only available in Australia. Before purchasing this product, please check whether there are any drop-off points near you.

Social Initiatives #igiveasock

We feel committed to contribute to the lives of the people we touch and the communities we do business in. At Underworks we believe it is our corporate responsibility to make sure that everyone has access to basic clothing items such as socks and underwear. Since 2019 we have run our IGiveASock program, and this year is bigger than ever. We have donated more than 24,000 essential clothing items to people experiencing disadvantage, including homelessness, poverty, and mental health issues. We have partnered with several community organisations such as Food Bank, The Salvation Army and St Kilda Mums, to make sure these essentials get directed to people most in need. Additionally, we actively donate our excess samples to people in need and recycle our damaged stock through external textile recycling partners to prevent waste and enable a more circular economy.

We develop and explore circularity in every area.

Our sports socks for example contain recycled cotton and recycled polyester made from both pre & post-consumer waste materials, including reclaimed manufacturing waste. This means resources are used to develop and diverts old textile waste from landfill. Another example is, the cartons we receive in our local warehouse are re-used to re-pack our products and any excess cartons are sent to be recycled. We have also reduced our plastic consumption by reducing the weight and size of our bags. We have replaced all our plastic hooks with cardboard hook and we are constantly looking for ways to improve.

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