The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has re-accredited New Balance’s social compliance programme, and added fashion startup Vetta Brands to its network of accredited companies, in a move that confirms both have policies and practices in place to monitor and remediate labour abuses in their global supply chains.
To achieve accreditation, companies must regularly assess supply chain production facilities for adherence to international labour standards and pursue continuous improvement efforts to address conditions for workers. Indeed, the FLA claims to be the only organisation of its kind to which brands and suppliers commit to meeting the standards of regular review and assessment of corporate systems that support workers’ rights.
The assessment of New Balance noted the company leadership’s commitment to protecting and upholding workplace standards. FLA assessors reported that New Balance provides confidential reporting channels via local service providers to ensure worker grievances are received and resolved. Further, the US-based sports footwear maker engages with local civil society organisations to examine ways to make improvements to workers’ lives.
New Balance, which earned its first FLA-accreditation in 2014, was also recognised for conducting analyses of compensation data from samples of its factory workforce in high-risk countries to identify wage gaps, which is considered an important step in driving strategic decisions and providing fair compensation to workers.
“Re-accreditation by the Fair Labor Association is a major achievement. It signifies a deep commitment to ethical sourcing for the products that bear New Balance’s name,” says Sharon Waxman, president and CEO of the Fair Labor Association. “The FLA assessment of New Balance revealed a sustained and serious effort to protect workers by ensuring compliance in its supply chain and driving change to achieve better working conditions.”
Vetta Brands, meanwhile, was recognised for its comprehensive and regular staff training on codes of conduct and workplace standards; implementation of a supplemental audit tool to ensure that Vetta’s standards are upheld throughout its supply chain; and implementation of factory-level worker engagement programs through worker surveys, focus groups, and confidential reporting channels. Also, Vetta demonstrated significant progress toward implementing a strategy on fair compensation, the FLA says.
FLA’s network of accredited companies includes Adidas, Hanes, Nike and Patagonia.