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Sustainability and the Global Corporation

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On February 8, the Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity at City University of New York’s Baruch College hosted its 5th Annual Symposium on Sustainable Business. This year’s symposium, “Profits and Politics: Sustainability and the Global Corporation” covered issues from the environment to social responsibility, and featured speakers and panelists from GE, The Climate Group, the UN Global Compact, and other organizations. FLA’s Executive Director Jorge Perez-Lopez (center) and Nathan Fleisig (at the podium), Social Responsibility Manager at Outerstuff, participated in a panel discussion about the importance of upholding fair labor standards throughout a brand’s supply chain. The panel was moderated by David Matthew, Professor at Baruch College Zicklin School of Business.

Perez-Lopez explained the increasing awareness and concern among consumers over the past decade about the way products are made. He discussed the FLA Code of Conduct and the practical approach the organization takes to improving workers’ lives.

Fleisig, who led Outerstuff’s transition from a Category B Licensee to an FLA Participating Company in 2012, opened his presentation by explaining why his company decided to affiliate with FLA at the highest possible level. As a collegiate licensee, Outerstuff was required by FLA’s university affiliates to bring only its collegiate factories into the FLA program. Despite the fact that only ten percent of its revenues come from collegiate apparel, Outerstuff voluntarily decided to bring 100 percent of its supply chain into the program. This higher level of corporate commitment means that all of Outerstuff’s suppliers are required to abide by the FLA Code of Conduct.

Perez-Lopez and Fleisig discussed the multi-stakeholder nature of FLA and the benefits of collaboration between universities, civil society and companies, and shared insights and lessons learned from the recent investigation and ongoing remediation at the Style Avenue factory in El Salvador.

For more on the symposium, click here.

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