Apparel & Footwear Question 5

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Is the brand (company) a member of a collective initiative that aims to improve labor conditions, or does the brand (company) purchase its supplies from accredited factories with improved labor conditions?

  • Dutch version: Is het merk (bedrijf) lid van een samenwerkingsverband om arbeidsomstandigheden te verbeteren of koopt het merk in bij 'gecertificeerde' fabrieken?
  • German version: Ist der Markenhersteller Mitglied einer Multi-Stakeholder-Initiative (MSI), die sich für die Verbesserung von Arbeitsbedingungen in der Produktion einsetzt? Oder erwirbt der Markenhersteller einen signifikanten Anteil seiner Lieferungen von sozial zertifizierten Fabriken?


This question relates to aspect AF2 in the Reporting Guidelines & Apparel and Footwear Sector Supplement of the Global Reporting Initiative (“parties engaged in Code of Conduct implementation”).

‘Collective initiatives’ are for example BSCI, ETI and FLA, where Apparel & Footwear companies (as members) share the Code of Conduct and supplier database for Code of Conduct implementation. See list below for more examples.

Certification schemes and other monitoring initiatives at the supplier level for the Apparel & Footwear sector include: SA8000, WRC, FLO (the labor conditions certification scheme for the processing of Fair Trade/ Max Havelaar cotton) and WRAP. Note that also GOTS certification and IVN include social standards and is eligible here when at least 30% of all raw materials are GOTS or IVN certified.

Rank a Brand has conducted some internal research on the types of collective initiatives and certification schemes that are eligible for a point. Based on the "Benchmark for Social Standards" by MADE-BY, a set of simplified criteria has been developed. The eligible initiatives and certifications must fulfill the following requirements:

  • a publicly available code of conduct (either a multi-stakeholder code or an industry code);
  • a monitoring system at the brand level or a certification system at the supplier level;
  • regular audits are carried out (either internal audits verified by third-party auditors or external audits);
  • reported audit results (e.g. number of internal and external audits, number and type of non-compliance).

Checking memberships on eligible initiative's websites:

  • Business Social Compliance Initiative - BSCI
  • Danish Ethitcal Trading Initiative - DIEH
  • Ethical Trading Initiative - ETI
  • Fair Labor Association - FLA
  • Fair Wear Foundation - FWF
  • Ethical Trading Initiative Norway - IEH
  • World Fair Trade Organization WFTO

Until further notice, not eligible to this question are:

Ranking guidelines

A ‘Yes’ is applicable when:

  • A brand mentions their membership to one of the specified collective initiatives, only after you have verified this on the website of the respective initiative (see reference links above for verification).
  • A brand purchases at least 30% of their supplies from suppliers with certified/monitored facilities, such as: (SA8000 or FLO-CERT)
  • At least 30% of all materials is GOTS or IVN certified.
  • All the brand products are made in ‘low risk’ countries, see the list as defined by MADE-BY.

A ‘No’ is applicable when:

  • A brand explictly states that they are not a member of an MSI and do not purchase from certified factories.
  • A brand purchases less than 30% of its supplies from certified factories.
  • Less than 30% of all materials is GOTS or IVN certified.
  • A brand doesn’t mention any membership, or when membership is suggested via unofficial channels. According to our policy, all information should be accessible and transparent.
  • A brand is a member of BSR / BCGD / VFI or a similar initiative that does not provide transparent information about labor standards or audit methods.

Answering guidelines


  • [Brand] is a member of [BSCI / DIEH / ETI / FLA / FWF / IEH / MADE-BY / WFTO].
  • [Brand] purchases [..]% of its supplies at [SA8000 / FLO-CERT / WRAP / WRC] certified factories. SA8000 / FLO-CERT / WRAP / WRC is acknowledged as a certification scheme that meets this criteria.
  • [...%] of [Brand]'s materials are GOTS / IVN certified. GOTS / IVN is acknowledged as a certification scheme that meets this criteria.
  • All products are made in [...], [which is a low risk country / are low risk countries] as defined by MADE-BY (see page ...).


  • [Brand] explicitly states not to be a member of a MSI.
  • [Brand] purchases less than 30% of its supplies at [SA8000 / FLO-Cert / WRAP / WRC] certified factories.
  • Less than 30% of [Brand]'s raw materials are GOTS or IVN certified.


  • [Brand] refers to the certification scheme [SA8000 / FLO-CERT / GOTS / WRAP / WRC], but it is not clear what percentage of factories/annual volume is certified.
  • [Brand] is a member of [BSR / BCGD / VFI], but information about a code of conduct, monitoring/auditing, and reporting on audit results was not found on the [BSR / BCGD / VFI] website, so membership of this organisation is not counted as a 'yes'.
  • [Brand] does not communicate any information about being part of a collective initiative or purchasing from an accredited supplier, on its website.