Social compliance programmes developed by Adidas, Patagonia and Outerknown to uphold fair labour standards in their supply chains have been accredited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA).

The programmes 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 programme in 2005, and Patagonia in 2008. Outerknown, a new brand launched by professional surfer Kelly Slater in 2015, achieved its accreditation for the first time.

The move recognises that the three brands "are building and maintaining an internal culture of accountability that has support from the highest levels of the company," says 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 programme to assess and improve working conditions in the factories from which they source."

As well as their programmes' alignment with core principles of responsible sourcing, the FLA's reaccreditation of Adidas and Patagonia acknowledged their work toward fair compensation of workers, a key FLA initiative.

The two were also recognised for specific regional efforts to improve workplace conditions, such as Patagonia's advocacy on behalf of migrant workers in Taiwan, and Adidas's support for the Indonesian Freedom of Association Protocol.

All three companies have a commitment to supply chain transparency via public disclosure of factory lists. Also commended were specific worker-empowerment initiatives such as Adidas's support for factories where workers express interest in establishing childcare, credit, or healthcare cooperatives, and Patagonia's implementation of a fire-safety training programme for workers in 40 facilities.  

All brands and suppliers that affiliate with the FLA commit to upholding international labour standards throughout their supply chains – along with an evaluation by the FLA of the ability of their social compliance programs to sufficiently uphold these standards.  

Brands and suppliers that successfully complete the initial multi-year evaluation achieve accreditation of their programmes, with reaccreditation assessments required regularly thereafter.  

The FLA claims to be the only organisation of its kind that commits brands and suppliers to an accreditation process that demands regular review and assessments. With the addition of Outerknown, the FLA has now accredited a total of 28 social compliance programmes.