Once we are at the stage where we are interested in pursuing a partnership with a supplier, they are sent the Willow Earth supplier agreement. This questionnaire is based on the Ethical Trade Initiative's Base Code, and covers 9 areas that must be met before we start working together. This is to ensure that we work with partners that offer fair wages, provide good working conditions, and do not practice discrimination. If you would like to find out more about this, you can read the agreement below. 

We care a lot about where our bags come from and the people who are working hard making them. During the development stages of our products, we built up trust and a relationship with our partners and we continue to be impressed by the high quality samples they send us. Most of them had never worked with cork as a replacement for leather before and had not come up against a lot of our plastic-free and environmental requirements but they continue to work excitedly on all the things we throw at them!


1. Employment is freely chosen

Full explanation: - There is no forced, bonded, or involuntary prison labour. - Workers are not required to lodge ‘deposits’ or their identity papers with you, and are free to leave employment after reasonable notice.

2. Working conditions are safe and hygienic

Full explanation: * Workers are given a safe and hygienic environment. * All workers are trained in health and safety procedures * Workers are given access to clean toilet facilities, and drinking water. Where appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage are provided. * If accommodation is provided, it should be clean and safe. * Health and safety is overseen by a senior member of the company.

3. Living wages are paid

Full explanation: * Wages paid at least meet national legal standards, and are adequate enough to meet basic needs and provide some discretionary income. * Employment conditions with regards to wages are made clear to workers prior to entering employment. * Wages are never deducted as a form of discipline. Any other deductions must be agreed upon by employees.

4. Working hours are not excessive

Full explanation: * Working hours must comply with national laws. * Working hours (before overtime) are defined by a contract, and do not exceed 48 hours per week. * All overtime work is voluntary. Overtime work should be used in moderation, and should not be used to replace regular employment. Overtime should be paid at a premium rate of at least 1.25 times the regular rate of pay. * Total hours worked in any seven day period should not exceed 60 hours, except in the following conditions:

* This is permitted by national law. * Appropriate safeguards are taken to protect the health and safety of workers. * Exceptional circumstances have occurred, such as unexpected production peaks, accidents or emergencies. * The collective body of workers have freely negotiated this with you. - Workers shall be provided with at least day off in every seven day period, or two days off in every 14 day period.

5. No discrimination is practiced

Full explanation: * There is no discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.

6. Regular employment is provided

Full explanation: * Work should be based on recognised employment following national law and practice. * Obligations to employees regarding labour or social security are not avoided through re-framing the contractual agreement. For example by using labour-only contracting, sub-contracting, home-working apprenticeships schemes etc.

7. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected

Full explanation: * All workers have the right to join or form trade unions and to bargain collectively. * No discrimination is carried out against workers representatives, and are able to carry out their duty in the workplace. * In cases where freedom of association or collective bargaining is restricted under law, you are open to alternative means of independent or free association and bargaining.

8. No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed

Full explanation: - Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation are prohibited.

9. Child labour is not used