Generic Labour Conditions Question 7

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Question

Is the brand (company) a member of a multi stakeholder initiative (MSI), wherein independent NGO’s or labor unions are represented, that collectively aims to improve labor conditions and that carries out independent audits? Or does the brand (company) significantly purchase its supplies from factories certified by such MSI’s?

Dutch version: Is het merk (bedrijf) lid van een samenwerkingsverband, waarin bedrijfsonafhankelijke NGO's of vakbonden zijn vertegenwoordigd, om arbeidsomstandigheden te verbeteren en dat onafhankelijke controles uitvoert, of koopt het merk in bij 'gecertificeerde' fabrieken?

German version: Ist die Marke/das Unternehmen Mitglied in einer Multi-Stakeholder-Initiative, die Arbeitsbedingungen verbessern will und in der NGOs und/oder Gewerkschaften mitwirken? Oder erwirbt die Marke/das Unternehmen ihre Lieferungen von Fabriken welche von solchen Initiativen zertifiziert wurden?

References

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”), and criterion 9 'Stakeholder Engagement' of the Sustainability Code 1 2 from the German Council of Sustainable Development.

‘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 for suppliers in the Apparel & Footwear sector on final assembly level (cut, make, trim (CMT)), p. 23-24 include: SA8000, WRC and WRAP. Note that also GOTS certification and IVN include social standards and are eligible here when at least 25% of the entire clothing production is 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
  • MADE-BY - MADE-BY
  • World Fair Trade Organization WFTO

Until further notice, not eligible to this question are:

  • Association of Non-Food Importers ANFI (German: VFI) - ANFI VFI
  • Business for Social Responsibility - BSR
  • Business Council for Global Development - BSGD

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 25% of their supplies from suppliers with certified/monitored facilities, such as: (SA8000)
  • At least 25% of the entire production is GOTS or IVN certified.
  • All the brand products are made in ‘low risk’ countries, see the list as defined by Maplecroft (or the brand has published a Fair Wear Foundation or SA 8000 report where these initiatives specifically state the brand produces only in low-risk countries).

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 25% of its supplies from certified factories.
  • Less than 25% of the entire production 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

Yes:

  • [Brand] is a member of [BSCI / DIEH / ETI / FLA / FWF / IEH / MADE-BY / WFTO*].
  • [Brand] purchases [..]% of its supplies at [SA8000 / WRAP / WRC*] certified factories. SA8000 / WRAP / WRC*] is acknowledged as a certification scheme that meets this criteria.
  • [...%] of [Brand]'s entire production is [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.


No:

  • [Brand] explicitly states not to be a member of a Multi-Stakeholder-Initiative (MSI).
  • [Brand] purchases less than 25% of its supplies from [SA8000 / WRAP / WRC*] certified apparel manufacturers.
  • Less than 25% of [Brand]'s production is [GOTS / IVN*] certified.


?:

  • [Brand] does not communicate any information about being part of a collective initiative or purchasing from an accredited supplier.
  • [Brand] refers to the certification scheme [SA8000 / GOTS / WRAP / WRC*], but it is not clear what percentage of the production 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] reports collaboration with Fair Labour Association (FLA), but as a Category B Licensee only.
  • [Brand]'s production is partly [GOTS / IVN*] certified. However, its overall share is not specified clear enough.


-* You can pick the topic that applies to 'your' brand.

Note: when linking to a downloadable source document, please refer to the page(s) where to find the respective information with: (see link, page [..]).

Optional, but only for ? Answers, feel free to write at the end of a remark: Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.