Adidas, Patagonia, Outerknown Achieve Accreditation for Labor Compliance

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Adidas, Outerknown and Patagonia are being recognized by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) for going the extra mile to protect their workers.

The FLA announced the accreditation of three social compliance programs developed by the companies and praised them for implementing fair labor practices in their supply chains. In addition to committing to FLA’s responsible sourcing and fair labor standards, each company is working to improve the lives of workers worldwide.

Adidas and Patagonia, which both achieved FLA accreditation in 2005 and 2008, were re-accredited for their ongoing commitment to high workplace standards, while Outerknown, a new brand launched by professional surfer Kelly Slater in 2015, achieved its first-ever FLA accreditation for its social compliance program.

“Accreditation recognizes that these three brands are building and maintaining an internal culture of accountability that has support from the highest levels of the company,” said Sharon Waxman, president of the FLA. “To earn accreditation, a company’s commitment to social responsibility must always include implementation of a robust, on-the ground program to assess and improve working conditions in the factories from which they source.”

While Adidas and Patagonia were commended for responsible sourcing, FLA also applauded both companies for implementing fair compensation initiatives—a key FLA initiative for ethical worker treatment. In addition to the initiatives above, each company is working to remedy labor issues regionally—with Adidas continuing its support of the Indonesian Freedom of Association Protocol—an agreement that enables the fair assembly of trade unions in the nation, and Patagonia working with the Ministry of Labor in Taiwan to develop legislation that protects migrant workers there.

As a new addition to FLA’s roster, Outerknown was recognized for weaving its sustainability framework and sourcing strategy into its daily operations. While adopting FLA benchmarks, including supply chain visibility and environmental protection, the company was also praised for its industry leadership and proactive collaborations with the Fair Trade USA, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the Social and Labor Convergence Project (SLCP).

[Read more on how companies can support garment workers: Report: Actionable Ways Brands Can—And Should—Fight Forced Labor]

FLA also praised the three companies for publicly disclosing their factory lists and upholding supply chain transparency. The FLA pointed out specific worker-empowerment efforts of each company, including Adidas’ support for factories that foster healthcare cooperatives, Patagonia’s fire safety training program for workers that spans 40 facilities, and Outerknown’s supply chain executive leadership.

Brands and suppliers that commit to FLA follow international labor standards and agree to be evaluated by the FLA for the quality of their social compliance programs. Once industry members successfully complete FLA’s initial multi-year evaluation and are approved by the FLA board of directors, they may achieve accreditation of their programs, in addition to re-accreditation assessments in the future. To date, the FLA has accredited 28 social compliance programs worldwide for improved labor rights.

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