We believe everyone should be treated fairly and with respect. We are committed to using our brand’s influence to have a positive impact on our employees, the workers in our supply chain and our wider communities.

Dr. Martens culture is rooted in our approach of 'doing the right thing' which goes back to the origins of the brand as a family business and continues to guide our approach to decision making. Our management and employees are custodians of the Dr. Martens brand. We want to take care of, protect and improve it for the next generation. As such, we are committed to upholding fair working conditions and increasing the scope of our social compliance programme throughout our supply chain and our own operations.

Our people

Dr. Martens has long been committed to conducting business in an honest and ethical manner. We expect high standards from each other, and we adhere to the DOCtrine, our global employee Code of Conduct, which defines the way we do business. All employees must sign the DOCtrine which covers our standards and expectations of our employees on areas such as human rights and ethical trade, health and safety, anti-bribery, malpractice and harassment. Should there be a need to raise any concerns regarding the principles outlined in the Code of Conduct, we have a confidential whistleblowing hotline, Speak Up.

We select the right person for the job regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. We take all reasonable steps to ensure equality of opportunity in recruitment, training, development and conditions of work. These are our gender pay gap results for this year.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are firmly on our leadership agenda; they are part of who we are as a business and as a brand. We’re proud that 85% of our employees say they can be themselves at work, and we’re striving to increase this even further. It boils down to treating people right, striving to do better and learning when we get it wrong. It starts with open minds, open eyes, open ears and open conversations. This isn’t doing the nice thing. It’s doing the right thing. Check out the DE&I section of our Sustainability Report for more information.

As part of our culture first approach, we have a range of initiatives and perks which support the mental, social, physical and financial wellbeing of our employees. Some of the initiatives offered include access to our Employee Assistance Programme (free and confidential advice service) and our Perks and Discounts Scheme, an annual volunteering allowance and regular Lunch and Learn sessions.

Annual surveys and listening groups help create a picture of how our people engage with our brand, culture and the employee experience we provide. 88% of our people shared how they feel and experience life at Dr. Martens in our 2021 Engagement and Inclusion survey. We are proud that our inclusive culture is reflected in the results, with 83% of people feeling they can express themselves at work. These results are helping identify key focus areas for the coming year.

In 2019, Dr. Martens was awarded “Best Place to Work” by Drapers, as well as the “Business Culture Achievement (Medium Business)” by the Business Culture Awards and the “Employee Engagement and Experience” award by the HR Distinction Awards, which is a reflection of our highly engaged culture.

In 2019 we signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge and with the help of our Mental Health Champions, we are showing our ongoing commitment to change the way we think about mental health in the workplace. Together, we are ensuring Dr. Martens is a place where mental health is talked about freely and without judgement.

Our global compliance and training platform ‘How We Do Business’ allows consistent and relevant policies and training materials to be distributed to all of our employees across all regions in relevant languages. It also provides live views and up to date reporting and monitoring of the business’ progress rate, therefore allowing targeted training and communication where needed. Training modules for all Dr. Martens employees includes modules on Human Rights, Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Acceptable Usage and Cyber Security. All employees are also required to read and agree to our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy at the beginning of their employment and whenever it’s updated.

Our suppliers

Our products are sourced from the United Kingdom, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, USA, Portugal and Taiwan. We believe it is important to develop long-term partnerships with our suppliers and have worked with many of them for more than a decade. Our supplier conferences promote an environment of trust and transparency, whilst building a deeper understanding of the issues faced by our suppliers. As a result of our partnership principles, we have not cancelled any orders (full or in part) during the coronavirus crisis and have continued to pay our suppliers in full, which reflects our belief in the importance of our supplier relationships.

We have policies and procedures in place which our suppliers must adhere to. They set out our standards for the treatment of workers and conditions that suppliers should provide to workers making our products. These policies are embedded in our Master Supplier Agreements which are signed by our key suppliers and third-party distribution centres and include:

Supplier Code of Conduct
Migrant Worker Policy
Environmental Standards
Animal Derived Materials Policy

Our Supplier Code of Conduct sets out our expectations for the suppliers we work with across a number of principles. It is based on the Ethical Trade Initiative Base Code and conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), such as no child labour or forced labour. This is our full Supplier Code of Conduct.

All our suppliers must comply to our Supplier Code of Conduct as a minimum standard:

  • Employment must be freely chosen.
  • Workers must have freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
  • Working conditions must be safe and hygienic.
  • Child labour must not be used.
  • All wages must be paid on time and in full.
  • Working hours must be not be excessive. 
  • Discrimination must not be practiced.
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment must not be tolerated.
  • Unauthorised subcontracting and homeworking is prohibited.

Our policy states suppliers should not employ anyone below the age of 15, unless local or national law stipulates a higher mandatory age. We expect our suppliers to have robust recruitment systems and policies to respect the minimum working age standards. However, this is still something that we monitor closely.

Health and safety management is an ongoing challenge for all of our suppliers and generally accounts for a high proportion of all issues identified by our monitoring programme. As such, we have worked with suppliers to implement robust procedures to manage health and safety. Dr. Martens’ local employees in each of our source countries attend regular health and safety meetings with all of our suppliers. We have developed and rolled out a number of tools to support this work, including a H&S Toolkit and PPE Guide as well as our Needle and Sharp Materials Policy.

As a business, we are committed to respecting human rights and identifying, investigating, engaging and remediating any issues related to modern slavery. Please click on the link to learn more about our efforts in our recent Modern Slavery Statement.

CSR monitoring programme

We have a robust factory approval process, which includes third party CSR audits, which must be completed before engagement with new suppliers. We also have an ongoing monitoring programme to frequently monitor (at least once a year) active Tier 1 and key Tier 2 suppliers’ in our supply chain compliance with labour and environmental laws, regulations, industry standards and our own policies. The programme is run by our Global supply chain compliance team comprised of experienced CSR professionals based in our Hong Kong and UK offices. This programme is the foundation of our relationship with our suppliers, in order to maintain fair and safe working conditions and to protect the environment.

We partner with an independent third-party company, Intertek to deliver our social compliance monitoring programme. The Workplace Conditions Assessment (WCA) is an on-site verification programme intended as an overall risk assessment for social compliance issues across a range of topics from modern slavery, child labour, wages and hours, health and safety, environment, and management systems. Ratings are assigned to the questions which rank the severity of the requirements within the category from minor, moderate, major and zero tolerance (ZT). These standardised severity ratings support the recommended corrective action timeframes and help to improve scoring on the Performance Index as ZTs and Majors have the most impact on the score. Severity ratings are reviewed regularly, to encourage continuous improvement and as important issues evolve in the industry. The WCA ratings are assigned by Intertek based on their vast experience in social compliance auditing, as well as comparison of requirements across other social compliance industry programmes.

We take a collaborative approach with the suppliers and, when issues are found, a corrective action plan is agreed to remedy non-conformances in a timely manner. We then carry out further follow-up checks to verify the corrective actions have been taken. Should a supplier fail to remediate issues identified by an audit during an agreed timeframe, the supplier partnership is reviewed and may be terminated. During FY21 more than 90% of our Tier 1 finished product suppliers were physically audited and all surpassed our minimum CSR audit criteria.