Patagonia is proud to announce that as of October, 2008, we have become a fully accredited member of the Fair Labor Association. While Patagonia was a founding member and active participating company in the Fair Labor Association since 1999, it was not until last month that we received the distinction of full accreditation. To achieve this honor, we adhere to the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and ten company obligations. This includes carrying out a rigorous internal monitoring program executed by Patagonia, as well as submitting to unannounced, Independent External Monitoring audits of up to 5% of our factories each year. The FLA posts the results of its random audits on its website for everyone to see as part of its commitment to transparency.
To achieve accreditation, Patagonia’s program was reviewed by FLA staff to ensure the implementation of the required obligations for a participating company. This gives a new level of creditability to our program as well as provides us guidelines for further improvement. We are incredibly excited here at Patagonia to receive this accreditation as it is a culmination of the hard work of a lot of people in the company. Patagonia embeds social responsibility into the sourcing and production of its materials and products. We have made some changes in the past year to strengthen this integration. Factories must be reviewed to see if they are able to meet our social standards before we will place production there.
[A modern-day Chinese clothing factory. Photo: Nicole Bassett.]
Our production, quality and social responsibility departments alsowork with our existing supply chain to monitor and manage workingconditions. Ideally, we want to see all of our suppliers developself-sufficient social management systems, but there are many who needhelp getting to this goal. For instance, a factory that continuouslyhas excessive overtime should see this as a problem and determine theroot cause of this. It is important that Patagonia draw attention tothese non-compliances through auditing, but more importantly to workwith our suppliers to sustainably address these issues. We are relianton a strong supply chain and are committed to improving conditions forthe workers that make Patagonia product.
Especially in this time of global economic uncertainty there is areal need for responsible business to be engaged with the socialwelfare of the workers who make our products. Safe, healthy and fairworkplaces are fundamental rights for any worker in the world. Thereare no single answers, but rather a complex set of stakeholders andsituations that have to work together if we are going to seesustainable change toward improving workers’ lives. This is whatPatagonia is committed to.
To learn more about Patagonia’s efforts toward Social Responsibility in our supply chain, please visit http://www.patagonia.com/csr
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