Our Commitment to Corporate Responsibility
289c Apparel, Ltd. (289c) and our affiliate Dallas Cowboys Merchandising, Ltd. (DCM) work every day to produce high quality garments and accessories that allow people to display visibly their connection to their favorite school or team. Our customers take great pride in the school colors and mascots they wear, and we want them to be just as proud of the way their logo apparel is made.
High Ethical Standards
We expect every factory, anywhere in the world, that produces apparel for us to treat their employees with respect and dignity and to provide them with safe and healthy working conditions. Our Social Compliance Code of Conduct outlines our high standards, including our zero-tolerance philosophy on child labor and forced labor, our support of workers to associate freely and our insistence that workers are paid the wages they deserve. Our Code is thoughtfully aligned with internationally accepted human rights norms – and every supplier that produces apparel for us agrees, in writing, to adhere to the Code.
Sound Business Practices
To enforce our Code of Conduct, we have built practices that help us identify partners who share our values, before we do business with them; determine if and when suppliers are out of compliance with the Code; and work with them to return to compliance. Before we approve any factory to manufacture apparel for us, we hire a reputable and experienced auditor to conduct a factory audit and recommend remedies to practices that don’t meet our Code. We won’t place an order with a factory until it can demonstrate to our auditors and to us that its management understands our standards and agrees to uphold them.
Once a factory is approved for production, we commit to monitoring the facility at least once each year to audit its compliance against our Code. Beyond that, our membership in the Fair Labor Association (FLA) includes a commitment to allow FLA auditors to assess working conditions in any of our suppliers’ factories, unannounced, at any time.
We believe our business relationship with a factory, based on our Social Compliance Code and remediation processes, can positively impact working conditions. When violations of our Code – no matter how minor or major – are discovered, we conduct a thorough investigation and develop a corrective action plan for the factory to return to compliance. By partnering with factory managers to identify and rectify areas of non-compliance, we work toward continuously improving factory conditions. Immediately ceasing our relationship with a factory upon discovering a Code violation would only prevent us from ensuring that the factory successfully improves its practices.
Nevertheless, if a factory is in egregious violation of our Code, if there is willful resistance to our corrective action plan, or if the facility cannot live up to our standards, we do not hesitate to terminate that business relationship.
Collaborating for a More Ethical Industry
Since we share factories with many of the world’s leading apparel brands, we believe it is important to partner in industry efforts toward improved factory working conditions. In fact, improving working conditions is a shared goal among many apparel brands, governments and civil society organizations. Being accepted into the FLA in 2012 has allowed us to engage with peer companies and to learn best practices. Besides the opportunity to collaborate with other brands, membership in the FLA requires us to open our program to examination. We welcome this scrutiny, as it helps us identify areas for operational improvements. At the same time, we believe we offer leadership in the sports logo apparel business that will continue to push the industry forward in our mission to improve factory workers’ lives.
Our Social Compliance Code and factory-monitoring program form the foundation of our approach to corporate responsibility, but we don’t stop there. In 2012, we invested in an innovative initiative started by Better Factories Cambodia , a joint initiative of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the International Labor Organization. The initiative, called the Mobile Phone Project for Garment Workers, will use mobile phones as tools for factory workers to build greater knowledge about a broad range of industry topics including rights and entitlements, local labor law, health and welfare topics, and allow for a deeper understanding of the challenges confronting garment workers and conditions in the workplace. The Mobile Phone Project for Garment Workers will facilitate two-way communication between workers and Better Factories Cambodia. The information gained through communication will complement the assessment data that the Better Factories Cambodia team collects through factory monitoring. We invested in this effort in the hope that it will scale to other countries so that workers around the world can freely share their opinions and voice their concerns.
289c and DCM are proud to support programs like these. We believe such initiatives represent the path toward a more ethical apparel industry. We look forward to identifying additional efforts with the same potential to impact thousands of people around the world.