Timberland Joins Forces with Over 100 Signatories to Accelerate Social Progress in Factories Worldwide

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Timberland Joins Forces with Over 100 Signatories to Accelerate Social Progress in Factories Worldwide

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Through the Social & Labor Convergence Project, Timberland and other brands aim to improve labor conditions in the apparel and footwear industries by joining hands to create ‘one factory assessment for all, more resources and improvements for everyone.’

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Timberland’s Commitment to Responsibly Made Products

CONTENT: Multimedia with summary

Social compliance is nothing new for Timberland. The nearly $2 billion global outdoor lifestyle brand formally launched its factory compliance program in 1994 with the creation of its Code of Conduct, which established minimum standards for workplace conditions and worker rights. Today, most every major brand has its own compliance program and standard against which it audits its factories. This is good news for workers around the world, but often presents logistical challenges for factories, as each brand tends to use its own audit tool, meaning factories can be audited multiple times each year with a different set of standards, codes and protocols for each brand. The time and resources factory owners spend with multiple auditors from multiple brands often detracts from their ability to focus on social and labor conditions, and can lead to what is generally referred to as “audit fatigue.”

In the near future, audit fatigue could become a thing of the past. In October 2015, Colleen Vien, Timberland’s sustainability director, joined the steering committee of the Social & Labor Convergence Project. The project is committed to developing a simple, unified and effective industry-wide assessment framework that accelerates social impact and drives sustained improvements to working conditions in the apparel and footwear sector. Since 2015, the number of signatories has grown from 33 to over 100, with more partners expected to join in the future. Signatories represent many different stakeholder groups: brands, manufacturers, audit firms, civil society organizations, and NGOs. The project aims to enable these diverse business partners to measure continuous improvement and increase the opportunity for transparency in manufacturing.

“I believe we are at a time where this effort is set up for success. Brands are willing to work together, other industries have proven it’s possible, and external auditing firms and social/labor standard holders are not threatened by the idea of convergence,” says Vien. “There’s still much work to be done to ensure the product is reliable and meets all stakeholders’ needs, but we share a desire to see our efforts be more efficient and effective.”

To learn more about Timberland’s commitment to innovate and operate in a responsible manner, visit www.timberland.com/responsibility.html. See more on the Social & Labor Convergence Project at www.slconvergence.org.

Keywords: Responsible Production & Consumption | Ethics & Governance | Factories | Partnerships | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Sustainability | Timberland | manufacturing | social progress

CAMPAIGN: Timberland’s Commitment to Responsibly Made Products

CONTENT: Multimedia with summary