Supply Chain Social Responsibility
Our Standards and Factory Monitoring
Talbots considers the factories contracted to manufacture products for us critical to our success and strive to ensure they provide acceptable working conditions for their workers. All factories that produce garments for Talbots are expected to adhere to The Talbots, Inc. Merchandise Supply Chain Code of Conduct, a set of standards forming the foundation of the Talbots principled supply chain.
Even before we allow a factory to produce garments under the Talbots label, we require that it undergo a social responsibility audit, in addition to a technical competence audit. Only when we are satisfied that the factory is willing and able to meet our standards, will we allow it to produce garments for us. Once approved, all contract factories agree to ongoing factory monitoring by an independent, third-party auditor, and the audit results must comply with our Merchandise Supply Chain Code of Conduct.
Addressing the Causes of Poor Working Conditions
Egregious violations of our Code – such as child labor, forced labor or abusive working conditions – will be met with swift action. However, our long-term goal is to use the factory monitoring process as a way to identify non-compliance issues and to enter a dialogue with factory management to help resolve these issues, to work toward improvement and to promote better working conditions.
Measuring Factory Performance
Our factory monitoring partners audit factory compliance with The Talbots, Inc. Merchandise Supply Chain Code of Conduct.
Our current goal is to:
* Audit 100% of apparel factories;
* Increase the percentage of apparel factories receiving unannounced audits to greater than 15%;
* Increase audits of accessories factories.
Supply Chain Transparency
Preventing Human Trafficking and Forced Labor
In order to comply with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657), we reviewed and reaffirmed our commitment to the prevention of human trafficking and forced labor in the Talbots global supply chain. We recognize the risk of human trafficking and forced labor is present in any global supply chain and we take the following measures to help safeguard our own supply chain from these risks:
1. Verification: Our team evaluates the risk of human trafficking and forced labor by reviewing country-level risk against advisories published by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Labor. At the vendor and factory levels, our supply chain monitoring program is designed to verify that contract factories do not engage in human trafficking or forced labor.
2. Auditing: Our factory monitoring partners audit factory compliance with Merchandise Supply Chain Code of Conduct, which prohibits human trafficking and forced labor. In fiscal 2012, approximately half of our apparel factory base was audited by an independent, third-party auditing firm. The remaining factories were audited by Li & Fung’s vendor compliance team. Approximately 27% of all active apparel factories in fiscal 2012 received unannounced audits.
3. Certification: All vendor partners must certify that they comply with Merchandise Supply Chain Code of Conduct, which prohibits human trafficking and forced labor. We require certification on an annual basis of all factories that produce for Talbots.
4. Internal Accountability: All Talbots employees and contractors are expected to conduct themselves according to the guidelines described in the Talbots Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. By acknowledging the standards within the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, each employee agrees to “comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations of the U.S. or the province and country in which you are located or where you are a guest.” These laws include, among others, wage and hour laws which address actions that would be complicit with forced labor.