At Half Moon Bay, integrity is at the heart of everything we do.
We are committed to conducting our business in a manner that reflects our ethical and environmental values. We apply this approach to all our supply chain, from design, sourcing, and production, to transportation and individual consumer purchase. We recognise that it is our responsibility to ensure the way we do business is accountable and does not impact negatively on the people we work with, the communities we touch, or the environment.
As a family company we are dedicated to improving the well-being of workers and their families. We want our business to be one where all workers both at our UK offices and throughout our international supply chain are treated with respect and fairness. To this end, we are directing our focus on Human Rights Due Diligence, and during 2022, we will be talking to our overseas suppliers to open dialogue that has typically been overlooked by traditional social and ethical audits. Our intention is to understand the challenges that suppliers face and to realise the positive and negative effects of how we do business and learn what we can do to improve. Looking at areas such as working hours, career progression and optimism, we hope to establish direct and open channels with the workers in our factories and to better understand their concerns. With the support of our colleagues at our Half Moon Bay office in China, we can look to implement change through worker-focused initiatives.
Here in the UK, we are developing our buying strategy, recognising how our business practices impact our entire workforce. We are aware that deadlines can impact on the wellbeing of workers, and so by planning our buying schedules in advance, we enable factories to manage their workload and avoid unnecessary overtime and stress. We work to ensure that retailer delivery dates are realistic and allow extra time to accommodate unforeseen delays. Customers will be informed if their purchasing expectations risk undermining our ability to uphold decent working conditions at our factories. Training opportunities for our buying team enable better decision making and help reinforce our commitment to raising standards.
We have always looked to suppliers whose values align with our own and have fostered long-term relationships with factories that have consistently delivered high-quality products created in safe and fair working environments. We enjoy a close relationship with our Half Moon Bay Dongguan office, and the team makes regular factory visits and inspections. Keeping in daily contact with our colleagues in China also helps ensure the deadlines we work to are fair and achievable. With advances in video call technology, we can now speak directly to suppliers. Face-to-face communication helps us maintain open, productive relationships and guarantees the uninterrupted supply of good quality materials to make our products. All these aspects help us to operate ‘beyond audit’, by building a collaborative approach across our supply chain.
Onboarding new suppliers, we stipulate that all factories must comply with the following minimum standards:
- The factory must be legally compliant with national and local laws
- The Half Moon Bay Supplier Questionnaire must be completed
- The factory must have agreed and signed the Half Moon Bay Supplier Code of Conduct
- The factory must have a valid and full ethical audit (SMETA/ BSCI) which reflects the ‘Ethical Trade Initiative Base Code’ as a minimum
- There must be no open critical issues and there must be a corrective action plan with agreed time frame in place
- The factory must comply with REACH and EU/UK chemical safety directives
- Factories are encouraged to strive for best practice by becoming members of SEDEX and completing the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)
While these standards are the minimum we accept, there is a strong expectation that suppliers exceed these standards. Our Supplier Code of Conduct aims to strengthen our commitment to human rights and environmental due diligence. These commitments and are intended to guide our relationship with suppliers and to continually raise standards over time:
- No child labour
- No forced labour
- No discrimination or harassment
- Respect for freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Safe and hygienic working conditions
- Minimum wages paid
- Fair working hours
- Regular employment provided
- Respect for the environment
- No bribery and corruption
- Transparency in and from all business relationships
- A valid business licence and audits must be held
Our Supplier Code of Conduct in full detail can be accessed here: Supplier Code of Conduct
We are committed to minimising our environmental footprint throughout our product creation, from the way we design to the materials we use. Although vast improvements have been made in recent years, the environmental impact of factory waste is still a concern that requires attention and monitoring. We are working with suppliers to identify risks at site level, and to learn more about the effects of pollution resulting from manufacturing processes. Consumer products have significant environmental impact, so we are always innovating with new materials and eco-friendly alternatives. Our aim is to strike a balance between making products that are sustainable while also maintaining quality and durability.
Alternatives to plastic
Reducing the use of plastic is one of our priorities. As well as glass and metal water bottles and metal and ceramic travel mugs, we are developing and researching alternatives to plastic cups that are environmentally friendly and recyclable. Plastic lunch boxes are being phased out in favour of fabric alternatives. We are also starting development in RPET which is 100% recycled and recyclable.
We are working with our textile suppliers to source ethical options such as recycled or organic cotton that are sustainable and better for the environment.
As stationery is one of our key areas, it is important to us that the paper we purchase has been responsibly sourced with consideration for wildlife and the environment. All our stationery suppliers are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The FSC logo gives assurance that all FSC certified materials originate from forests that are managed by strict FSC principles, including the protection of habitats, prevention of pollution, the planting of more trees, and the avoidance of displacing native peoples and harming wildlife. We have also recently introduced Kraft paper across our stationery and packaging. Manufactured with recycled fibre, Kraft paper is natural, biodegradable and compostable.
All inks used are toxic free and REACH compliant. REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) addresses the production and use of chemical substances and their potential impacts on human health and the environment.
We only sample products we intend to order and take care not to raise expectations with suppliers or waste time and materials for lines that do not go ahead. Sampling is often free of charge and so by reducing samples we can ensure all products manufactured for HMB are fairly paid for.
We have made significant inroads in reducing cardboard and plastic across our packing, shipping and distribution. Every effort is taken to ensure all packaging is essential and optimises space.
For our stationery and smaller items, tissue paper is used for packing rather than cellophane or polybags. We have invested in new machinery at our UK warehouse to recycle cardboard, which is used in place of plastic bubble wrap. In place of silica gel, suppliers are now required to use more eco-friendly alternatives.
We carefully plan our buying schedule to ship full containers, use vacuum packing where possible, and allow plenty of time for sea transportation rather than air.
In our UK offices we sort and manage our recycling and re-use office equipment and packaging cartons where possible. Staff are encouraged to follow our paperless approach.
Product Design and Compliance
Our dedicated design team ensures that our products are functional, fit for purpose and manufactured to the highest quality. It is important to us that the Half Moon Bay brand can be valued and trusted by our customers. We require that all products are made by suppliers technically competent within their specific area. All products are put through our product compliance process to ensure they are safe to use in accordance with General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) and food safety EU standards. Our products are inspected during production and tested by independent accredited labs.
We carefully select license partners and brands, taking on accounts and charitable organisations whose ethics align with ours. Our UK license portfolio includes Huskup, Moomin, Paddington, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Battersea Dogs Home and National Trust. We are especially proud to partner with Oxfam, and to have worked with TKMaxx on behalf of Comic Relief.
We support our local community, contributing to charities such as Genesis Trust Food Bank and Julian House Homeless Charity. We use local businesses where we can, and are Headline sponsors of Creative Bath, a local organisation supporting young people in the creative sector.