Ethical Fair Trade Policies

We’ve been championing ethical trade since our journey began back in 1989.

Wherever we do business, in the UK and around the world, we’re committed to the highest ethical standards. For us, it's not enough to simply comply with legal requirements. We nurture long term relationships with our trusted Fair Trade suppliers and have carefully developed a supply chain of like-minded people who share our ethos of trading responsibly. Our clothes are designed and made to last using carefully sourced natural fibres and environmentally conscious processes. 

We ask all of our suppliers to sign up to our Code of Conduct and expect complete transparency throughout the production process. All except the very smallest of our producers have Sedex certification, which means they go beyond the levels of ethical conduct required by law and other international standards. A number of them are also certified by GOTS (the universally recognised standard for organic textiles production). 

We know personally where each of our products is made, and are always looking for new ways to strengthen our relationships and operate responsibly. By working closely with each of our producers (one of which has been with us almost since the beginning), we can continue to ensure our high standards are being met.

Read more about our factories here >

How we fulfil the 10 Principles of Fair Trade

Nomads’ fair trade policy is designed to ensure that we, and all of our suppliers, uphold the 10 Principles of Fair Trade as set out by the World Fair Trade Organization. We are permanently committed to:

1. Creating opportunities for economically marginalised producers

The entire Nomads collection is produced in India.

We support organic farmers and provide them with continued income through reorders.

We work with smaller, independent and family-run producers to support them and help them grow their businesses.

We use traditional crafts such as handloom, Ikat and tie-dye to support smaller producers and artisans. (You’ll find more about our fabrics and artisan methods here.)

Many of our suppliers are independent family businesses that we’ve worked with for many years. 

2. Transparency & accountability

We require our suppliers to sign a Code of Conduct to commit to upholding our standards. 

We maintain good relationships and communication with all suppliers through 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.

Our long-term relationships help with meeting this principle. Some of our suppliers we have worked and grown with for over 25 years.

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 of all except one of our factories are carried out to ensure they continue to meet Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) requirements. The exception is a very small supplier that we audit personally.

3. Fair trading practices

We have a critical path schedule that enables us to give realistic and fair time estimates required for all stages of production. We take into consideration the additional time required for special techniques such as embroidery and tie-dye.

To ensure that our suppliers do not go into debt, we prepay a percentage of the goods when we order. That way, they can pass this payment on to the printers and dyers to ensure that payments are reaching everyone fairly through the supply chain.

We provide our suppliers with our own exclusive designs and original prints, and never duplicate someone else’s work.

We incorporate traditional skills like hand tie-dye and handloom weaving to provide income for marginalised artisan producers and help keep these ancient crafts alive. 

Once we’ve placed an order with a supplier, we honour it (unless a cancellation is requested by the supplier, due to a supply issue for example).

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 our suppliers to grow with us. Read more about our factories here

4. Fair payment

The cost of goods is worked out fairly.

All workers are already 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 the same work.

We pay producers in advance so that they don’t go into debt buying materials.

5. 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. We are committed to vigilance and will not accept this anywhere in our supply chain.

6. Non-discrimination, gender equity & freedom of association

We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.

Employees have the 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 the same work.

7. Ensuring good working conditions

Health and safety are regulated and upheld to set good standards.

Working hours are set fairly under government legislation, and 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 & safety provisions in place at each of our suppliers during our twice-yearly visits, and work with them on any improvements needed.

Our suppliers are also audited annually by Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). Read more on these certifications here.

8. Providing capacity building

Our suppliers use units where smaller groups of craftspeople do specialist work such as tie-dye, ikat dyeing and handloom weaving. This helps develop these heritage skills and provide income to smaller groups. (You can learn more about the fabrics and artisan methods we use here.)

As our orders with each supplier increase, we work with them to ensure they can manage their business growth and support them through our India-based production manager. By staying in close and regular contact with our suppliers, we can help with any difficulties that may arise from increased production.

We help our small producers to grow their customer base by passing on their details to other Fair Trade businesses when asked. Sometimes we show the work of our small producers at trade shows, also helping them to reach more customers and access new markets.

9. Promoting Fair Trade

We talk about our producers and Fair Trade values on our website, in customer emails and on 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’re raising awareness of the need to shop responsibly and push the multi-nationals into working towards Fair Trade on a global level.

We’re proud members of Common Objective, an innovative online platform with a big ambition: to take sustainable fashion from niche to norm. Members work together to provide complete transparency in our production and supply chains and, ultimately, build businesses that have a positive impact on people and the planet. 

We support the Fashion Revolution movement which promotes greater transparency in the fashion industry to show ‘Who made my clothes?’ and ‘What’s in my clothes?’ and encourage people to think about how their clothes are made and sourced. 

10. Respect for the environment

We consider the impact that each step of our journey has on the environment, and actively seek to use environmentally-friendly materials and methods at every opportunity.

Our packaging is plastic free and fully biodegradable. Individual garment packaging is made from non-GMO cornstarch so is 100% compostable, ad our online orders are sent in brown paper packages made from FSC-sustainable sources. Exterior packaging for retail orders is made from cardboard that can be reused or recycled. 

Our swing tags and product catalogues are printed on uncoated FSC certified materials using vegetable-based inks which means they are not harmful to the environment and can easily be recycled.

We only use natural fibres in our products, and the farming and harvesting of these does not contribute to habitat loss or destruction. 

We use sustainable fabrics, with around half of our products being made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, one third made from standard cotton, 15% from sustainable viscose, and around 5% made from either Lyocell™ (in summer) or Ecovera™ (in winter).

Our viscose fabric is made using natural FSC-certified wood pulp fibres from Birla Cellulose who use a closed loop system and work to strict environmental standards.

Lyocell™ is an eco-friendly fabric made from FSC-certified wood pulp, produced in a closed loop production cycle and more eco-friendly than regular viscose.

Lenzing Ecovero™ is a new eco-friendly fabric that creates fewer emissions and uses less water to produce than regular viscose. 

We do not use formaldehyde, azo dyes, phthalates, alkylphenols or PVC in any form. These are all harmful chemicals commonly used in the fast fashion industry.

We do not use abrasive treatments like sandblasting, bleaching, stonewashing to create our garments.

We only travel for business when absolutely essential and choose the method of transport available with the least impact.

Employees of our factories are given information on conserving energy and water, along with environmental protection training.

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 in cases where our suppliers have faced delays we do 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, plastic and any other recyclable waste from our offices is recycled.

We design and make beautiful clothes that last so that they can be worn over and over again, inspiring consumers to shop responsibly and contributing to positive change within the fashion industry.

We donate unsold and development sample garments to Newlife, who sell them in their shops to raise funds to support children and families with disabilities or terminal illnesses. This also means they are not going to landfill.

Our suppliers work hard on efficient pattern lays to reduce fabric waste. Any unavoidable remnants from our production process are repurposed, either to make next season's development samples, to create bags that we then sell online, or sold on locally to fabric shops to be resold and used. Smaller offcuts of fabric are either sold to scrap dealers who use them to make rugs for local markets or recycled as whole-wastage lots back to yarn.

Our certifications

We believe in doing our best for both people and the planet, and hold ourselves accountable to globally-recognised standards in organic textiles, ethical fashion and Fair Trade. This is about more than simply providing assurance to our customers – it’s important to us that our impact on the world is a positive one. 

Our accreditations include:

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification

We’re proud to be GOTS-certified, which is the gold standard for sustainable processing of textiles around the world. A GOTS label in a garment means you can be sure that it’s achieved the GOTS strict specifications of social and ecological compliance that cover the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of organic textiles. Every member of the GOTS supply chain must renew their certifications annually through independent inspection. Our GOTS licence number is DK26875 and we can be found in the GOTS Certified Suppliers Database here.

BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK accreditation

Nomads is an accredited member of the BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK, part of the British Association of Fairtrade Shops and Suppliers. This is a network of independent shops and suppliers who are dedicated to promoting Fair Trade retail across Britain. BAFTS provides a structure of accountability to its members who uphold the 10 Principles of Fair Trade set out by the World Fairtrade Organization (WFTO). Membership is determined by peer-to-peer assessment and renewed annually to ensure members are able to demonstrate their continued fulfilment of the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. 

Common Objective membership

We’re proud members of Common Objective, an innovative online hub with a big ambition: to take sustainable fashion from niche to norm.

Building on ten years of work by the Ethical Fashion Forum, Common Objective now reaches a global network spanning 140 countries. All members work together to provide complete transparency throughout their production and supply chains, with one common objective: to build successful businesses with a positive impact on people and the environment.