UK fashion and lifestyle brand Seasalt has graduated from foundation to full membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in a move it views as a reflection of its commitment to ensuring the highest standards of ethics and respect for workers' rights throughout its supply chain.

The ETI Base Code has always been part of Seasalt's contract with suppliers and, as the business has grown, it has taken on more responsibility to ensure its supply chain is delivering all the commitments in the Base Code. 

"ETI is like a compass for us, it keeps us on track. It shows the best practice we can have in our business and verifies the top-line business decisions we make," Lucy Panniers, Seasalt's director of technical and product compliance and ethics, says.

"We don't only make those decisions because we're members of ETI. We make the decisions because we're a good business. But being able to get to the full membership stage means we do things in the right way. It's external validation of our business practices."

Seasalt sources its products from all over the world. Many of its manufacturing partners have been with the company since it began its expansion in the mid-2000s. All Tier 1 suppliers have been mapped and Seasalt has supported all suppliers in their ethical trade activities through open dialogue. 

The brand hopes becoming a full member of ETI will increase its visibility and involvement in the organisation – although its input was still substantial as foundation members. In particular, the company values the ability to work together with ETI, other corporate members, trade unions, and NGOs to tackle the biggest issues facing workers around the world.

"We talk with other members of the community about how to approach issues," says Panniers. "It's incredibly valuable to not be a lone voice. To be able to partner on some of those really big issues means you can make a difference. Seasalt has strong buy-in at board level and raising awareness of key human rights at work issues with ethical issues incorporated into the business risk register."