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Supply Chain Innovation

Fair Labor Association Accredits Fanatics Brands

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) announced today that its board of directors voted to accredit the social compliance program of Fanatics Brands, the private label division of Fanatics, Inc., a global leader for licensed sports merchandise headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, that specializes in licensed fan apparel for the world’s most popular leagues, brands, and collegiate and professional teams.

Fanatics Brands manufactures its products at three owned and operated facilities located in Tampa, Florida, Easton, Pennsylvania, and Norman, Oklahoma, and sources from 94 contracted facilities across 17 countries. Accreditation by the FLA recognizes that Fanatics Brands has systems in place to identify and remediate unfair labor practices in its global supply chain.

“Accreditation by the Fair Labor Association shows that Fanatics Brands plays by the rules when it comes to protecting the rights of the workers who make its officially licensed gear for sports fans,” said Sharon Waxman, FLA president and CEO. “FLA accreditation is a tangible sign of Fanatics Brands’ pledge to meet the world’s highest labor standards and its commitment to continuous improvement toward better conditions for workers.”

The FLA accreditation report is the result of a lengthy review of a company’s social compliance program against international labor standards. The accreditation report on Fanatics Brands’ program noted the following:

  • Commitment to workplace standards: Sustainability at Fanatics Brands, the company’s social compliance program, includes 11 global staff members, including regional managers in six countries. The company publishes its labor standards commitments online, reinforcing its obligations.
  • Responsible purchasing practices: A long-range planning template and adherence to planning and operations calendars preserves production lead times and mitigates last-minute changes to orders. Regular cross-departmental meetings and weekly meetings with suppliers provide forums to analyze the impact of purchasing practices on working conditions.
  • Fair compensation: Fanatics Brands has used the FLA Fair Compensation Dashboard to analyze wage data from 21 percent of its suppliers in scope and map wages against living wage estimates. Fanatics Brands drafted a blueprint for making living wage progress using this information.
  • Monitoring: FLA verified that 100 percent of Fanatics Brands owned and tier one contract facilities received a full social compliance audit over a two-year period. Further, Fanatics Brands deployed an online workforce impact survey to all suppliers in response to COVID-19 restrictions that limited in-person audits. The survey focused on retrenchment risks, wage payment accuracy, and health and safety issues.
  • Training: An extensive social compliance training program for Fanatics Brands staff includes a required introductory training on responsible purchasing practices for all staff, and quarterly and annual sessions on workplace standards and topics such as grievance mechanisms, retrenchment, and freedom of association and collective bargaining for sustainability staff. The commitment to training extends to ensuring that global suppliers are aware of their responsibilities and the production workers are fully informed of their rights.

“On behalf of the entire Fanatics Brands team, we are extremely proud to receive this accreditation from the Fair Labor Association, one of our industry’s most important and purposeful organizations,” said Joe Bozich, President, Fanatics Brands. “We take great pride in running a socially responsible business that respects workers’ rights, and believe we have an obligation and opportunity to use our business to make a positive difference for the people and in the communities in which we operate.”

FLA accreditation requires companies to meet standards and benchmarks that are based on those of the International Labour Organization, UN Guiding Principles, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. As part of the process, companies agree to assessments of corporate systems for purchasing and sourcing and regular review of facilities in their global supply chain.

FLA accreditation is the gold standard for a systems-level approach to human rights compliance and social responsibility and includes a commitment to the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct. Accredited companies are evaluated on an ongoing basis and must demonstrate continuous improvement efforts to address working conditions and protect workers’ rights.

A company’s accreditation signifies that it understands the consequences of its business practices on workplace conditions, has put effective systems in place to prevent workplace abuses, and commits to remediating violations that occur. Accreditation provides a basis for socially responsible investors and consumers to make informed investing and purchasing choices.

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The Fair Labor Association promotes and protects workers’ rights and improves workplace conditions by facilitating collaboration among businesses, civil society organizations, and colleges and universities. The FLA, established in 1999, conducts independent monitoring to ensure that rigorous labor standards are upheld wherever its affiliates source their products, identifies the root causes of labor violations and proposes solutions to workplace problems.

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