FLA demands factory list transparency for affiliates

Victoria Gallagher | 4th March 2019

WASHINGTON – The board of the Fair Labor Association, a US non-profit which promotes adherence to international and national labour laws, has voted in favour of associate businesses requiring full factory list transparency. The move, the first of its kind for such an organisation, has been welcomed by stakeholders in the global apparel industry. Jill Tucker, head of supply chain innovation & transformation at C&A Foundation, described the moved as a “big step forward for transparent supply chains,” while Aruna Kashyap of Human Rights Watch said it was a “huge development in the garment industry” and called for other standards organisations to follow suit.

FLA is a collaboration of universities, civil society organisations and businesses dedicated to protecting workers’ rights around the world. It places the onus on affiliate companies – which include adidas, Hugo Boss, Patagonia and Fruit of the Loom – to voluntarily meet internationally recognised labour standards wherever their products are made. As affiliates of FLA, companies agree to subject their supply chains to independent assessments and monitoring, the results of which are published online.

The criteria of the FLA are certainly among the more robust of those operating in the space. However, now that it has made this move, there will be undoubted call for other standards and auditing organisations to take a similar stance.

Ben Vanpeperstraete of Clean Clothes campaign suggest other organisations which might also call for supply chain transparency from members and affiliates include the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, Fair Wear Foundation and the Ethical Trade Initiative. He suggested , for instance, that “transparent supply chains would be an easier platform to implement the Ethical Trade base code than opaque and obscure supply chains.”

More on this story, including an interview with the Fair Labor Association, in our next printed magazine.