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Code of Conduct

ALLY BEE CODE OF CONDUCT

This code of conduct is applicable to Ally Bee suppliers doing business with Ally Bee. If you wish to offer your products or services to Ally Bee, please first consider whether your offering reflects the sustainability values of Ally Bee as set out in this Code of Conduct.

Ally Bee is a small London-based company operating with most of its suppliers on an ongoing basis through working relationships forged over several fashion seasons. The business concept behind Ally Bee is to create high quality knitwear with minimal waste using cruelty-free natural fibre yarns selected for their tangibly lower environmental impact than most conventional natural fibre yarns, and produced in a socially sustainable way. We believe that fashion brands have a responsibility to have as little destructive impact as possible on the planet when making products, and this means not remaining blissfully ignorant about the origins and impacts of the materials it sources. Ally Bee will not work with yarn suppliers or manufacturers unless it is evident their offering is  compatible with the sustainability values of Ally Bee. 

Note: In the case of British suppliers and manufacturers, reliance is placed on national standards of working practices, and an element of good faith built through good communications, site visits and ongoing reliability. For materials obtained outside the UK, independent certifications are required.

ENVIRONMENTAL CODE OF CONDUCT

Ally Bee uses alpaca, wool and cashmere yarns in it products, free from oil-based acrylic blends. Simply choosing a yarn because it is a natural fibre however, does not mean it accords with the sustainability values of Ally Bee. The yarns we source are selected because of they are cruelty-free, traceable to regions attributable to high standards of animal welfare and land management, and processed in a clean manner. The yarns are sourced for the following qualities:

“Cruelty-free" & ‘traceable’

  • Wool yarns must be derived from the fleece of sheep that have not been subjected to the practice of mulesing without pain-relief. A 'Woolmark' certification does not guarantee this. In the case of Australian merino where mulesing without pain relief is still widely used in the industry, Ally Bee requires the yarn to have a recognised independent certification stating the yarn as non-mulesed. Ally Bee also sources yarn made from sheep farmed in the UK, but as the practice of mulesing is not practiced in the UK, such certifications are not required. (Note - alpacas and cashmere goats do not require mulesing in any event, so no investigation into this is required in the sourcing process of these yarns.) 
  • Ally Bee commission-spun alpaca yarns are derived from the fleece of alpacas kept in small flocks on smallholdings in the UK. These animals are kept to high standards of British animal welfare legislation, and shorn by a specialist alpaca shearer. Alpacas are a domesticated version of the llama and require shearing once per year for its health - to fail to shear the animal is to the detriment of the animal's wellbeing. The yarn spinner is responsible for the sourcing of fleece, either personally or via a specialist UK yarn buyer to ensure quality and British provenance. In 2016 one batch of yarn  commissioned by Ally Bee contained a small percentage of alpaca fleece of unknown South American origin, accounting for 10% of the total weight of the yarn. This process will not continue as Ally Bee is no longer prepared to make knitwear with materials of unknown country of origin because there is no certainty on the prevailing national standards of animal welfare.
  • Ally Bee uses Merino wool from Australia  traceable to both the farm of origin and factory via an independent certifications of traceability, land management and animal welfare. The Australian merino yarns currently used by Ally bee have either a Cradle to Cradle ® certification or is Gostwyck merino sourced under the Responsible Wool Standard and processed in a factory accredited with a GOTS certification and pursuing 'carbon zero' production by 2025.
  • British wool - the wool industry in the UK is non-intensive compared to other wool growing regions of the world. The fleece from mainland Britain is sourced through the British Wool Marketing Board. The Board oversees the shearing of small flocks of sheep on British farms, with all their shearers trained to high standards of animal welfare. The Board while not having direct enforcement powers against evidence of animal cruelty in the flocks during shearing, will report any concerns  on animal welfare to the relevant authorities to pursue. The relevant standards of animal welfare farmers are required to abide by areThe Animal Welfare Act and the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.
  • A small amount of British Falklands Merino is used in some batches of Ally Bee yarns. This isolated region is considered a bountiful environment for grazing sheep non-intensively. Mulesing is not practised in this region.
  • Cashmere used by Ally Bee must be produced with independent internationally recognised certifications based on stringent audits of animal welfare, sustainable land management and low impact processing. The cashmere used in Ally Bee products is traceable to one herd in Mongolia and has been awarded a Cradle to Cradle certification for environmental and social responsibility.

Land management

  • Yarns chosen by Ally Bee are derived from herds managed to high standards of environmental management - overgrazing and excessive water extraction are not in line with the environmental standards held by this company. Australian merino and Mongolian cashmere can be particularly sensitive to over-grazing and land management issues and therefore all yarns from these regions must have independent certifications on land management.  
Low impact and non-toxic dyeing
  • Ally Bee has a preference to naturally coloured yarns without the need for dyeing. Ecru and autumnal shades in Ally Bee garments are all dye-free yarns.
  • Ally Bee now only sources yarns dyed to standards exceeding local environmental guidelines. A small quantity of yarn in the very first year of Ally Bee was commission-dyed in the UK in a small factory in the Scottish Borders bound by strict local environmental regulation on water quality. Since then, the only dyed yarns in the collection are Cradle to Cradle certified or meet Oekotex standards in clean production.
  • Ally Bee does not add acrylics to any fibres in its collections.

 Water management

  • Ally Bee collections uses yarns produced to environmental certifications relating to water conservation and management of waste water. In the case of yarns spun in the UK, reliance on local and national standards of industrial water usage is 

SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS IN GARMENT PRODUCTION

Minimising waste in production and post-production

  • Ally Bee designs do not use ‘cut and sew’ manufacturing techniques as this results in significant waste of yarn. 
  • Ally Bee items are manufactured using ‘fully-fashioned’ knitwear production techniques or seamless production on circular machines. The maximum amount of wastage anticipate on fully fashioned is 10% though this is a conservative estimate and is rarely required, and only 3% on circular knitting techniques. All yarns left over from production are returned to Ally Bee and made into smaller accessories.
  • Water usage in the production processed entails a quick wash of garments to 'finish' the items, using a conventional wash and conventional household detergents.
  • To reduce garment wastage, sampling is kept to a minimum at Ally Bee. Samples are sold at ‘samples’ pricing on occasion, or in the case of seconds, at a further reduced price, or given to fashion students for unraveling for up-cycling.
  • Swatches and sample yarn books are donated to a not-for-profit educational programme and used for teaching weaving.
  • Ally Bee does not engage in the commonly employed practice of excessive volume ordering and massive end-of-season discounting. No Ally Bee stock is binned, burnt or sent to land-fill.

FAIR LABOUR CODE OF CONDUCT

  • All Ally Bee knitwear items are manufactured in the UK, save for a small range produced in India. Ally Bee suppliers do not employ homeworkers or engage in piece-work. Each factory we used has been visited before or during production. For further information on work conditions in factories making products for Ally Bee, visit our Ethics & Sustainable section.
  • Ally Bee will not take on production outside of the UK unless a high standard, independently audited and internationally recognised fair labour certification, such as a B-Corporation certification, governs the working practices of a manufacturing facility.

If you have any queries about this Code of Conduct, or require additional information you feel is absent or not sufficiently covered in this Code of Conduct, please get in touch with us at info@ally-bee.com.