- Can the outdoor industry respect workers’ rights?
Haglöfs, together with five other brands, win the Fair Wear Foundation Inspiration Award 2018 for ensuring that garment factory worker’s rights are heard and acted on. In a short period of time, the working conditions in a factory the brands commonly source from have improved significantly – resulting in a reduction of overtime, initiation of a workers committee, and improved understanding from the management of the importance of dialogue with their workers. Read more about our work with social sustainability here.
For us, social sustainability is as important as environmental sustainability. That’s why we are, as the only Nordic outdoor brand, members of Fair Wear Foundation. FWF is an organisation that works with clothing manufacturers, and all other relevant parties, to monitor and improve workplace conditions in several production countries across Asia, Europe and Africa. FWF combats injustice, improves dangerous and otherwise poor working conditions, and monitors pay. Haglöfs is a member since 2012 and, after many years of hard work, we recently managed to achieve Leader status, the highest member category available.
Poor labour conditions are still a problem for outdoor brands. It is crucial sustainability challenge that we can’t ignore, but can’t solve on our own. The solution requires radical collaboration. Together with other brands, suppliers, but also NGO’s and trade unions, we can change the industry. That’s why we are a part of Fair Wear Foundation.
Regular visits to our production sites
Members of Haglöfs own development visit our producing mills every year; to ensure a high quality standard (the essence of sustainability if you ask us!); to check real life working environments where our products are made as well as to keep good partnerships with our product suppliers.
Fair Wear Foundation; voluntary initiative for step-wise improvements in supply chain
Haglöfs is a ’Leader’ of non-for profit organization Fair Wear Foundation that works with brands to improve labour conditions in the garment industry. This way, we work to make step-by-step improvements for the workers who make the products we sell.
Besides our own visits, FWF is of vital importance at the production site; this is a third party making sure that conditions in our factories are better than just acceptable for the people who work there.
FWF, a Dutch not-for-profit organization, works with brands, factories, trade unions, NGOs and sometimes governments to verify and improve workplace conditions in production countries in Asia, Europe and Africa; with the aim to achieve more than just the ‘required legal minimum’.
Haglöfs’ committment to FWF requires regular thorough third-party auditing of our manufacturing sites, transparent grievance processes and official reporting of performance. Hence, FWF is widely considered to be the most stringent independent standard for supply chain monitoring available in the marketplace.
Fair Wear Foundations eight work standards are the basis for improvement
The work of FWF build on eight strategic pillars, which Haglöfs have adopted as our own ‘Code of Labour Practises’. These pillars are based on the UN agency International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards and cover issues e.g. forced labour, child labour, excessive working hours, gender based violence and occupational health & safety. Additionally, the pillars advocate freedom of association among workers and fair wages.
FWF keeps track of the improvements made by the companies it works with and through sharing expertise, social dialogue and strengthening industrial relations, FWF increases the effectiveness of the efforts made by companies.
The standards read:
- Employment is freely chosen
- There is no discrimination in employment
- No exploitation of child labour
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- Payment of a living wage
- No excessive working hours
- Safe and healthy working conditions
- Legally binding employment relationship
Production in Europe and the Far East
Of our production, ~15% takes place in locations in various countries in Europe (eg Portugal, Estonia, Sweden) where Fair Wear Foundation considers worker rights to be automatically protected by legislation and there is less need for monitoring.
In our other factories, regular third-party audits are carried out by FWF in all our garment and equipment factories to ensure ever-improving working practices.
- 48% of production takes place in monitored factories in China
- 28% takes place in monitored factories in Vietnam
- 6% takes place in monitored factories in Indonesia
- 2% takes place in monitored factories in Cambodia
- 1% takes place at audited factories in Romania
Haglöfs also chooses not to source from very high-risk countries, associated with significant workers rights issues and/or civil war risks.
Collaboration is beneficial to everyone
Audits are made in collaboration with other brands that are members of the FWF. The joint audits are beneficial to both parties; the member brands have increased transparency and can share costs for the audit, while the factory only need to interrupt their normal production once instead of once per brand.
Together we have a larger leverage then one single brand would and hence more impact to improve conditions at production sites, making them better workplaces. We do this by aiming for living wages, for instance, as well as limiting working hours and improving democratic rights for the employees.
Transparency in auditing and performance
Besides the joint follow-up on audits – which lead to more transparency between member brands – workers that are unhappy with their working conditions can lodge an anonymous complaint via the FWF system – any complaint will then need to be resolved together by member brands that have production at the affected factory.
A social report including the audit results, our sourcing strategy and any complaints should be published online.
Every year FWF publicly reports on our progress to make stepwise improvement of our supply chain with the Brand Performance Check. Our 2018 performance check can be read here.
Help to make stepwise improvements
FWF also provides support and tools to continue working towards factories that are safe, where workers get paid living wages, with fair working conditions.
Creating sustainable change takes time. That is why FWF and its brands believe in a step-by-step approach. To transform the garment industry, FWF also works closely together with other industry stakeholders. Together we work on practical and innovative solution to labour rights violations.
Read more about FWF here.
A sustainable outdoor industry.