& Slavery in our
Human trafficking is a form of
slavery that can include forced
labor, debt bondage and sex
trafficking. An egregious violation
of human rights, human trafficking
and slavery exist in every country
with over 27 million victims
worldwide. It is often invisible for
people who do not look carefully.
Though we have a strong human rights record and no evidence of human
trafficking in our supply chain, we were galvanized into addressing this issue
more deeply when, on September 30, 2010, the State of California signed the
California Transparency in Supply Chain Act (SB657) requiring companies with
annual sales of $100 million or more that do business in California to disclose
their effort in eradicating human trafficking and slavery from their supply
chains. Similar antitrafficking laws are in progress nationally.
We see this as a positive trend propelling companies towards action and
transparency. Free the Slaves, the largest antislavery organization in the US,
believes that it is possible to end slavery in twenty-five years. To accomplish
this, consumers must be engaged and brands must exert long-term effort and
continuous attention. At EILEEN FISHER, we have engaged nonprofit partners
to guide our efforts and we have reached out to like-minded companies to
collaborate on change-making ideas. We cannot do this work alone.
How is EILEEN FISHER taking action?
We are keenly aware that conditions leading to human trafficking and slavery
can exist in very subtle forms, such as the withholding of identity or travel
documents and the charging of excessive recruitment fees. Therefore, we have
made a company commitment to go deeper with both our auditing and our
factory trainings. Our goal is to see if we can eliminate the root causes that can
lead to human trafficking and slavery in our supply chain.
Our strategy was developed with our monitoring partners and nonprofit
partners. It has five components:
- Verification In 2011, we used the Fair Hiring Toolkit published by Verité, our
long-time partner, to survey our suppliers on their recruitment practices and
grievance systems, so that we can evaluate where we could be vulnerable
to human trafficking and slavery in our supply chain. We have also provided
our suppliers with a copy of their country laws in their native languages to
underscore their legal responsibilities with regard to human trafficking.
- Auditing Human trafficking is forbidden by both SA8000, the labor standard
that we have followed since 1997, and ETI Base Code, which we adopted
in 2011. We have reached out to our auditors--independent, third-party
reviewers--to make sure that human trafficking is an important part of their
audits. Audits are mostly conducted on an unannounced basis. To go beyond
the items that their audits regularly cover--management interviews, worker
interviews and health and safety walk-throughs--we are also conducting
some mobile phone surveys in partnership with Good World Solutions to
survey workers on the issue of human trafficking.
- Certification We feel it is our responsibility, not that of our manufacturing
partners, to certify that the fabrics, yarns and trims incorporated into
our products were made in compliance with local laws regarding human
trafficking and slavery. Prior to placing bulk orders, we ask questions that
will help us target potential human rights issues and identify red flags. Our
Social Consciousness Team works closely with our design and manufacturing
teams to engage our mills and incorporate ethical sourcing into our fabric
and yarn approval process.
- Internal Accountability We have reiterated our zero tolerance for human
trafficking to our suppliers and made it clear that if we discover a violation
that cannot be resolved through remediation, we will have no choice but to
end our relationship with the supplier.
- Training To raise awareness about what can occur in the global supply chain,
we have conducted a series of trainings with various partners to educate
our employees, our Hong Kong sourcing agent and both the managers and
workers at our factories. These sessions identify red flags and examine
important root-cause factors of slavery and trafficking, including recruiting
practices and migrant worker issues. We believe that by providing the people
in our supply chain with the relevant knowledge and tools, they can act as
change agents in their individual communities.
UL-STR partnered with us to host training sessions at our headquarters in
Irvington, New York, at our Creative Center in New York City and also at the
offices of our sourcing and production agent in Hong Kong.
Ethical Trading Initiative worked with us to conduct an additional series of
Verité, our long-time partner, conducted trainings at our factories in China.
Managers attended mandatory sessions on human trafficking and slavery
that focused on recruitment and grievance systems. Factory worker trainings
covered how to get help for anyone in a compromised situation.