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IMS – Entreprendre pour la Cité (Bouygues) - Fair Trade Uniforms for Workers

Added on 22-03-2013




IMS Entreprendre pour la Cité



Business challenge

Construction worker's uniforms are one of the biggest purchases for construction companies. According to its new CSR policies called "Actitudes", Bouygues Construction wanted to integrate new criteria for its purchasing department.


A decision was taken in September 2007 to change all the working clothes at Bouygues Entreprises France Europe (including all subsidiaries of Bouygues Construction based in France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) to fair trade cotton uniforms. This represents 15,000 uniforms.

This project is divided into five steps:

  • Purchasing - The material used will be fair trade cotton, labelled by Max Havelaar
  • Weaving - Use of an ecological label, Oeka Tex Standard 100, which limits the use of certain substances
  • Confection - Respect of the Fair Trade Charter, including fair compensation
  • Use - Communicating with the workers about their new uniforms, what are the stakes, environmental gains, etc.
  • Recycling - A partnership will be made with EMMAÜS whereby they will pick up the old uniforms and use them


  • Finding good suppliers, good labels and overcoats
  • Deciding if the supplier will be changed
  • Additional costs total approximately 10 to 15%. These can possibly be reduced by collective purchases with other subsidiaries

Challenges/Lessons learned:

  • The cotton industry is one of the most polluting in the world so these new clothes adhere more closely to the company's CSR policies
  • A strengthening of the pride of workers that will wear them since there are great expectations around CSR from the company's employees
  • Represents a first step towards other sustainable and fair trade purchases

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