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Response to NLC report about working conditions at the OCEAN SKY factory in El Salvador

February 08, 2011

Herzogenaurach, 8 February 2011 – On January 24, 2011, the US NGO National Labour Committee (NLC) published a report on their website about working conditions at an apparel maquila in El Salvador called OCEAN SKY. 

OCEAN SKY is a subsidiary of a Singaporean multinational and produces apparel products for various international brands, including Reebok.

The adidas Group code of conduct, the ‘Workplace Standards’, is based on the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) core labour rights conventions and the code of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. All of the adidas Group’s business partners must fully comply with these Standards. A team of experts conducts regular audits at our suppliers’ factories and when the benchmarks of the Workplace Standards are not met, appropriate corrective actions are defined, monitored, and verified. This work and the commitment to continuously improving working conditions in our supply chain is a key part of our sustainability programme. 

To ensure that workers in our suppliers’ factories are informed of our Workplace Standards, we have developed mature communication channels and compliance training. Additionally, we have set up confidential reporting hotlines in many countries so that workers may directly contact us and bring complaints to our attention. 

OCEAN SKY has been monitored by the adidas Group’s Social and Environmental Affairs team since early 2008. Breaches of the Workplace Standards were identified during these audits and corrective action plans have been developed with the OCEAN SKY management since March 2008. As recently as October 2010, issues of excessive working hours and health and safety were identified and communicated to the OCEAN SKY management. 

OCEAN SKY is also a Fair Labor Association participating supplier, and as such, has committed to the expectations and Code of Conduct of that organisation. 

Ocean Sky, closely supported by the Fair Labor Association, the adidas Group, and three other buyers, have agreed to commission an independent monitor to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the allegations. The investigation will start on February 7, and the independent monitor, COVERCO, will engage with factory management and workers, local authorities, members of civil society, the FLA, worker representatives, and other buyers to support the investigation and the subsequent corrective actions. 

OCEAN SKY has agreed to give COVERCO unconditional access to employees, records and the factory site, and has agreed to execute the corrective actions identified during the investigation. These corrective actions will be overseen and supported by the FLA and the OCEAN SKY buyers. The investigation report, findings and corrective actions will be made public after February 15. 

We are committed to the requisite actions that will ensure that any breaches of the rights of workers to work in a fair, healthy and safe workplace will be addressed in a timely and sustainable manner.

We will continue to publicly report on our efforts and progress.