The apparel and footwear industries have formally committed to the fight against forced labor in the supply chain. Earlier this fall, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) announced a new industry wide effort, in partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), to address the risk of forced labor in global supply chains. Since its launch in October 2018, 127 apparel and footwear corporations signed the Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment. These companies are agreeing to 1) Incorporate the Commitment to Responsible Recruitment into their company social compliance standards, such as their code of conduct, before December 31, 2019, and 2) Periodically report on their actions to imbed elements of the Commitment to Responsible Recruitment in company’s policies and processes through their sustainability reporting and/or modern slavery legal disclosures. A full list of the signatory companies can be found here, including brands such as Nike Inc., American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., and Gap Inc.
The International Supply Chain Initiative (ISCI) welcomes this step to streamline industry efforts and work to eliminate forced labor from global supply chains. Of the 25 million people that the International Labor Organization estimates are trapped in forced labor, many can be found in the textile and garment industries. Therefore, it is encouraging to see the apparel and footwear industries take on this proactive initiative.
ISCI is versed in regulatory compliance, and policy development and implementation. By leveraging Green and Spiegel’s liability assessments of your supply chain, we can identify poor recruitment practices which leave your company at risk of forced labor. ISCI encourages companies to consider joining this Commitment to Responsible Recruitment with AAFA and the FLA. Not only is evidence mounting that the return on investments are increasing when companies enact sustainability policies, but also consumers are demonstrating that they prefer socially responsible brands.
If your company has taken on the responsibility to comply with the Commitment on Responsible Recruitment and would like assistance implementing policies to strengthen sustainable recruitment practices in your supply chain, please contact us. Or, if your company is interested in signing the Commitment to Responsible Recruitment with AAFA and the FLA and seeks guidance on the subsequent policy implementation, contact us immediately.