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October 2017 accreditation of three social compliance programs

adidas, Patagonia achieve reaccreditation; first-time accreditation for Outerknown

Today, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) announced the accreditation of three social compliance programs developed by major apparel and footwear brands to uphold fair labor standards in their supply chains. All three companies were recognized for their innovative work in pursuit of the FLA’s mission to improve workers’ lives worldwide, and their adherence to the FLA’s Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing.

The programs at adidas and Patagonia, both long-time FLA members, were reaccredited for their continued work to build and maintain internal structures that support the highest workplace standards. Adidas first achieved accreditation for its compliance program in 2005; Patagonia first achieved accreditation in 2008.  Outerknown, a new brand launched by professional surfer Kelly Slater in 2015, achieved accreditation for its social compliance program for the first time.

“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.”

“The FLA is proud to see two long-time members, adidas and Patagonia, approved for reaccreditation as it shows the long-term commitment by these two companies to push themselves for greater accountability. The newest of these three members, Outerknown, is setting a new standard by organizing their foundational corporate culture and structure around the FLA’s principles,” continued Waxman.

In addition to recognizing their programs’ alignment with core principles of responsible sourcing, the FLA’s reaccreditation of adidas and Patagonia recognized their work toward fair compensation of workers, a key FLA initiative. The two were also recognized for specific regional efforts to improve workplace conditions, such as Patagonia’s advocacy on behalf of migrant workers in Taiwan, and adidas’ support for the Indonesian Freedom of Association Protocol.

All three companies were recognized for their commitment to supply chain transparency via public disclosure of factory lists. The FLA also commended specific worker-empowerment initiatives such as adidas’ support for factories where workers express interest in establishing childcare, credit, or healthcare cooperatives, and Patagonia’s implementation of a fire-safety training program for workers in 40 facilities. 

All brands that become FLA members commit to upholding international labor standards throughout their supply chains, and commit to an evaluation by the FLA of the preparedness of their social compliance programs to sufficiently uphold these standards.  Brands and suppliers that successfully complete the initial multi-year evaluation, subject to approval by the FLA Board of Directors, achieve accreditation of their programs, with reaccreditation assessments required regularly thereafter. 

Founded in 1999, the FLA is a collaborative effort of universities, civil society organizations, and companies dedicated to protecting workers’ rights around the world. The FLA offers tools, resources, and training to companies building robust social compliance programs; conducts due diligence through independent assessments; and advocates for greater accountability and transparency from brands, suppliers, and others involved in global supply chains.

The FLA is the only organization of its kind that commits brands and suppliers to an accreditation process that demands regular review and assessment of corporate structures that support workers’ rights and social responsibility. With the addition of Outerknown, the FLA has accredited a total of 28 social compliance programs.

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