An independent survey by social impact company 60 Decibels has confirmed Rowlinson Knitwear’s positive impact on the lives of its overseas workers in Bangladesh. 

Commissioned by the UK Department for International Development and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), 60 Decibels conducted 214 telephone interviews with workers at New Horizon Bangladesh, which is the largest supplier to the schoolwear manufacturer. 

The results revealed the positive impact of the employee-owned Rowlinson’s ethical practices on workers’ health and wellbeing, economic status, workplace safety, worker satisfaction and quality of life. 

An ETI Foundation member since 2017, Rowlinson’s ethical initiatives include: the gifting of large domestic water filters to workers; upholding UK standards in health and safety throughout the factory; good rates of pay; female healthcare education; the provision of sanitary products to female workers; and funding access to Amader Kotha, an anonymous helpline for workers. 

Rowlinson has gifted over 730 large domestic water filters safeguarding the health of workers, their families and friends, who might otherwise be at risk from drinking contaminated water. 

“As a result, sickness is 47% lower, workers spend 46% less on medical costs and absenteeism is 39% lower. An ongoing initiative, qualifying employees also receive an annual replacement water filter kit to maintain their health and wellbeing,” reports Rowlinson. 

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a recognised gauge of satisfaction and loyalty, with a score above 50 considered excellent – the NPS among all workers at New Horizon is reported as 58, with a score of 81 among female workers. 

Rowlinson added: “90% of workers say working at New Horizon has improved or much improved their quality of life – they attribute this to better health, feeling safe, being paid more, being supported in the workplace and not having to work overtime. 

Ken Edgar, overseas director at Rowlinson, said: “We’re really proud that our ethical approach is helping to make life better for the skilled people who make our garments. We want all workers in our supply chain to be safe, well paid and healthy, because it’s right to demonstrate care for customers, colleagues, suppliers and factory workers alike. 

“Being kind and doing good is in our DNA, as we strive to shape a more caring and environmentally-conscious economy for everyone.”

Lindsay Wright from ETI added: “Rowlinson’s success in improving the health and wellbeing of its workers in Bangladesh shows just how much companies can achieve by committing to work directly with suppliers, giving workers a voice and prioritising long-term, sustainable relationships over short-term profits.”