- The Fair Labor Association has announced the reaccreditation of two social compliance programs at Adidas and Patagonia, both long-time FLA members, a company press release reported last week. Both were reaccredited for their ongoing work on internal company structures supporting high — and fair — workplace standards.
- Outerknown, launched by professional surfer Kelly Slater in 2015, has achieved its first accreditation for social compliance. All three companies were recognized for their commitment to supply chain transparency via public disclosure of factory lists.
- In addition to recognizing their programs’ alignment with core principles of responsible sourcing, the FLA’s reaccreditation of Adidas and Patagonia recognized their work toward fair compensation of workers, a key FLA initiative. The two were also recognized for specific regional efforts to improve workplace conditions, such as Patagonia’s advocacy on behalf of migrant workers in Taiwan, and Adidas’ support for the Indonesian Freedom of Association Protocol.
Transparency and ethics within the supply chain are often challenging to achieve, despite the sometimes best efforts of manufacturers.
Though the value of sustainability is steadily rising within procurement, a transparent supply chain is extremely difficult to achieve, mostly due to the murky behavior of suppliers below the Tier 2 level. Forced labor, wage withholding, and unsafe workplaces are just a few of the dangers faced by foreign factory workers ostensibly employed by American and European manufacturers.
Groups like the Fair Labor Association strive to reward those companies that try hard to provide a safe environment for their workers.
"Consumers and governments expect businesses to ensure their workers are safe and paid decent wages whether on a factory floor, in a spinning mill, or in a cotton field," Sharon Waxman, president of the FLA, told Supply Chain Dive.
Yet because many manufacturers overlook worker violations until (or unless) they are caught, it makes sense to lionize those that understand the value of protecting their staff, no matter how "invisible" a worker may be.
“Increasing numbers of businesses are looking to promote ethical sourcing in their supply chains, and we are encouraged to be working with some of the most committed companies to develop strong programs that protect workers wherever they are sourcing,” Waxman said.
Let's hope the list of FLA members grows exponentially within the coming year.