People-Centric


Enriching Lives for People and Communities

A simple purpose guides our work: to create quality products with integrity, expertise and respect for everyone. This starts with the people who make our business possible, inspiring our commitment to providing respectful and inclusive workplaces where everyone can thrive.  

From cotton growing and yarn formation to textile production and sewing, the steps to produce a garment are complex and can stretch across multiple countries.  

We recognize the role we must play in respecting workers’ rights, both for our own workforce of more than 33,000 people and those of our suppliers. How we choose to do business, and with whom, impact and improve efforts across our global supply chain. Guided by our Code of Conduct, we hold ourselves and our partners accountable; we seek to continuously evolve our approach to better address challenges and enhance our programs to enrich the lives of workers and the communities they serve. 

Our Initiatives


  • Respectful Workplaces

    Our standards for business ethics, respect for human and labor rights and environmental sustainability are documented in our Code of Conduct (the “Code”). We have one policy across all facilities, whether owned, sourced or licensed, and this policy is translated into over 37 languages and displayed prominently within all locations and available on our website here

    Our Code of Conduct: Fundamental Workplace Standards 

    Employment Relationship: Terms and conditions of employment that respect people.

    Health & Safety: Workplace environment enables employees to be trained and equipped to perform their jobs safely.

    Working Hours: Regular and overtime hours are within legal limits.

    Compensation: Employees are entitled to the legal minimum wage for all hours worked and benefits required by law or agreed in contract.

    Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining: Employees have the right to freely associate and bargain for employment terms and conditions.

    No Forced Labor: All work is voluntary without restrictions to movement or personal belongings.

    No Harassment or Abuse: Employees are treated with respect and dignity.

    Non-Discrimination: Employees are treated equally at every stage of employment.

    No Child Labor: Employment of individuals in violation of the local mandatory school age or under the applicable legal employment age is prohibited.

    Supplier Social Assessments 

    We typically assess facilities annually to ensure compliance with the Code using independent third-party monitoring companies such as the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Workplace Conditions Assessment (WCA), and Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). These organizations have the technical knowledge, familiarity with local language and culture, and legal expertise to help us more adequately assess local working conditions. The assessments generally include a physical visit to the facility to review the working environment, a review of documentation such as internal policies, procedures, payroll records, training records and private interviews with employees.

    Most facilities are formally assessed onsite annually. Facilities in full compliance with our Code of Conduct or with minor issues are granted two years before the next formal onsite assessment, or less than 10% of facilities. These are the facilities with WRAP Platinum certifications and BSCI ratings of A or B.   

    Opportunities for improvement are shared with facility staff and a corrective action plan is devised to address issues within a specified time frame.

    Code of Conduct

    Our Code of Conduct sets out our high standard for business ethics, respect for human rights and environmental sustainability. Its development was guided by our corporate values and industry standards. The standards originate from the International Labor Organization Fundamental Conventions and the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct. We use one policy across our owned facilities, sourced facilities, and licensees.

    To view the full Code of Conduct, click HERE.

    Classifying Code of Conduct Violations 

    We classify all issues against the Code of Conduct with a severity of zero tolerance, major, moderate and minor. Facilities must work on corrective action plans for all levels of issues. We directly intervene and report on improvements of zero tolerance and major issues to drive the most impact.

    New Supplier Onboarding 

    When developing a relationship with a new supplier, we request information about the manufacturing facilities, processes and employees. This launches a social screening process that takes place before the facility may begin manufacturing our products. We consider the country in which the facility is located, the setup of the buildings, and observations from social monitoring activities as part of this process. When social risks are identified, the facility must make improvements that meet our Code of Conduct standards prior to receiving purchase orders.

    In a rare situation, a facility may unfortunately begin our production without completing the full social screening process. This may occur when a licensing partner proceeds to place an order without providing all the information required as part of our social screening process, or a facility may subcontract our product without informing us first.  

    When unauthorized manufacturing occurs, we immediately request the information required as part of the supplier screening process. In the meantime, we learn the cause of the occurrence and create controls to avoid recurrence. The responsible supply chain manager must also follow an internal process to inform our senior leadership team of the situation and request approval to continue the relationship with the facility. If at any point the facility is unwilling to meet our requirement, we will disengage. 

    Supplier Training 

    A key part of our strategy is proactive engagement with suppliers to increase capacity on workers’ rights. Topics covered in our annual training program include: 

    • Forced labor 
    • Supply chain mapping  
    • Social compliance process refresher  
    • Review of major and zero tolerance issues  
    • Covid-19 protocol  
    • Country-specific risks 

    Grievance Procedure  

    We provide a grievance channel to report any Code of Conduct violations through a Fruit of the Loom, Inc. dedicated email and phone line. We strictly prohibit any retaliation against anyone who reports violations of our Code of Conduct or participates in any investigations of possible violations. Functioning grievance mechanisms are key to resolving worker concerns and complaints, ideally at the factory level, escalating to the buyer and lastly to third parties, as necessary.

    By the Numbers: 2021

    • 100% of major issues remediated through corrective action plans in 
    • 89% of new suppliers that were screened using social criteria 
    • 301 Assessments 

    We attribute a slight decrease in the number of assessments in 2021 compared to 2020 to a lower number of facilities in our FOTL-owned Social Compliance Program. Facilities in this program include our own facilities, our suppliers and suppliers of licensing partners that have opportunities to strengthen their social responsibility teams to monitor their suppliers.   See our 2021 Sustainability Report data appendix for a review of our auditing outcomes. 

  • Health, Safety and Well-being

    We are committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees and our suppliers around the world by implementing safety protocols and enacting equipment and operational procedures.

    Health and Safety Performance in Our Own Operations

    With oversight by an integrated Environment, Health and Safety team, we record and report all incidents to help us identify areas for continuous improvement. Our recordable incident rate is below the industry standard set by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Please see our Sustainability Report 2021 to view our performance from 2018-2021.

    Health and Well-being

    For our employees to thrive, we must go beyond providing safe working conditions to support personal health and well-being. Globally, we have 625 trained medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and first responders on staff, providing all of our manufacturing employees with access to on-site and preventative healthcare.

    At our textile facilities, on-site health clinics make it easier for our employees and their families to access health services. These facilities provide critical preventative health services such as reproductive and maternal health, vaccinations and important public health information that impact entire communities for the better.

    Supplier Health and Safety

    Our Factory Safety Policy requires that our suppliers prioritize safe working conditions for their employees. The policy outlines steps to be taken to prevent hazardous conditions, such as fire safety, building construction and emergency response capabilities.

    Fruit of the Loom, Inc. is also a signatory to the Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh along with more than 200 other brands. The Accord program has resulted in inspections for fire, structural and electrical safety in 1500+ factories. Where safety issues have been identified, remediation plans have been developed and implemented.

    By the Numbers: 2021

    • 100% of our employees are covered by a Worker Safety Committee
    • 100% of our employees are trained on occupational health & safety policies and procedures
    • 146,931 hours of Health & Safety training
    • 625 medically trained staff
    • 100% of manufacturing sites with on-site medical
    • 87% of our suppliers covered by Workers Health & Safety Committees
  • Freedom of Association

    Freedom of association means that employees have the right to freely associate with a union or workers’ council and bargain for employment terms and conditions once the legal requirements for union recognition have been satisfied.    

    Respecting workers’ freedom of association and right to collective bargaining is a core principle of our Code of Conduct. Today, 38% of our owned facilities around the world have unions or workers’ councils with active participation from more 43% of our employees.

     

    In 2010, we became the first apparel company in Honduras with a collective bargaining agreement, serving as a model for other large, multi-national companies with operations in the country. We are proud of the cooperative achievements we reached with our union partners — and acknowledge there is always room for improvement. We will continue investing in labor relations across all of our operations.   

    A key differentiator in our program is providing training for our managers and workers to improve their labor relations skills, organizational awareness and market knowledge. We build capabilities in teams to more effectively realize shared goals and manage healthy labor relations in our facilities.  

    We also track suppliers to ensure our commitment to freedom of association is upheld throughout our global supply chain. In 2021, 141 out of 460 suppliers, or 31% of our suppliers, reported the existence of unions or workers’ councils on-site. Freedom of association is a core part of our ongoing supplier training and capacity building. See our Sustainability report for data on our union engagement back to 2019.

    By the Numbers: 2021

    • 43% of our employees covered by unions or a collective bargaining agreement. 
    • 38% of our operations around the world are unionized. 
    • 31% of our suppliers report a union or works council on-site.
  • Learning & Development

    We are committed to providing a culture of continuous learning. Our talent development programs are structured to enable employees to pursue growth opportunities in our business. Delivery of our business strategy is dependent on our workforce talent and capabilities.

    Fruit of the Loom University

    Fruit of the Loom University (FruitU), our global learning program powered by our learning management system, provides on-demand learning content to support the development of our salaried global workforce. FruitU offers more than 16,000 online courses in seven languages covering leadership, technology and career development. Employees can search for relevant courses or managers can allocate development based on individual learning needs. Course content is curated and arranged by playlists to help guide employees through relevant learning pathways. FruitU also covers compulsory compliance courses to cover policy compliance, ethics and governance.

    Leadership Programs

    Our Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) program develops leaders at all levels and is based on the Fruit of the Loom, Inc. leadership competency model. The program offers four tailored development journeys:

    • Ascend with a focus on leading self.
    • Elevate with a focus on leading others.
    • Summit with a focus on leading leaders.
    • Peak with a focus on leading the business.

    All courses use blended learning approach of classroom and online education, exposure and peer collaboration, which builds valuable networks across the organization.

    Technical Training

    Our FOLTEC program offers a wide range of instructor-led courses for manufacturing teams covering all aspects from health & safety, LEAN manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification and Ergonomics Certifications. The Latin America region has also formed strategic alliances with The Integral Training Program for Competitiveness in Honduras and The Salvadoran Institute of Professional Training in El Salvador, to provide nationally accredited training to our employees.

    By the Numbers: 2021

    • 332,040 hours of training annually
    • 10 hours of training per employee
  • Diversity and Inclusion

    We believe our differences make us stronger and for this reason, we are committed to creating a workplace where everyone is treated with respect and empowered to contribute equally. We want to foster an inclusive culture of belonging for all employees, an intention that refines our focus on attracting, retaining and developing diverse talent. 

    Last year, we worked to raise awareness on the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace, and established programs and practices to increase representation and retain female employees, targeting region-specific goals. In early 2022, we established an additional strategic goal to increase representation and retention across ethnically diverse talent in the U.S. 

  • Fair Compensation

    Fruit of the Loom, Inc. believes every worker has a right to compensation for a regular work week that is sufficient to meet the worker’s basic needs and provide some discretionary income. We believe overtime should not be required to accomplish this.    

    Defining fair compensation takes collaboration across non-governmental organizations (NGOs), countries, facilities, unions and manufacturing brands — and we are committed to this work.  

    As we analyze wages for our workers around the world, which vary based on local factors, we rely on tools from independent, third-party organizations like the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to inform our decisions. The FLA’s Fair Compensation Dashboard and toolkit helped us compare these benchmarks against wage data from 100% of our owned sewing facilities.  

    Published in 2021, our Fair Compensation Blueprint is an action plan to identify and address worker wage gaps, report fair compensation progress across our supply chain, and ensure compliance with wages, benefits and working hours in all facilities. We will continue to advance our work using our Blueprint to focus our efforts. In 2022, we plan on collecting wage data from strategic countries and suppliers as defined in our Blueprint.     

  • Threads of Change

    Every person deserves to have their most basic needs met — whether that be food, shelter, clothing or healthcare. This is the foundational belief behind Threads of Change, our global program to support organizations providing essential services to people in times of need, from educational assistance to disaster relief. We provide support through three vital programming streams: product donations, community giving and volunteering. 

    Last year, we partnered with the American Red Cross and other non-profit organizations to support Afghan refugees displaced globally. In the United States, our headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky, donated more than half a million pieces of clothing to support families impacted by a devastating tornado. In Honduras, we gave to World Vision and other local organizations focused on hurricane relief efforts. And in Germany, teams provided clothing items to a local homeless shelter as well as a transitional living center for young families in crisis.  

    In 2021, we established a new goal for our Threads of Change program: to reach three million people by the end of 2027. We set this goal to measure the impact that our giving has on the communities we serve. We will start reporting on progress against this goal in 2022. 

2021 Highlights


44%

of global management were female.

$2M+

total community investment.

53%

of promotions were female.

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