12/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2021 02:18
On December 10th the international community observes Human Rights Day. This is a day when businesses and organizations around the world celebrate and build upon the UN General Assembly's Universal Declaration of Human Rights to promote equality, peace, justice, freedom and the protection of human dignity. In alignment with the UN 2030 Agenda, this year's theme is "Equality," a topic that is closely aligned with the work we do daily at VF Corporation.
We recognize people come first. We are committed to the continuous improvement of conditions and opportunities for everyone connected to our business operations and supply chain worldwide. In fact, our recently-released Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) Annual Profile and sustainability and responsibility report document our proactive efforts to drive this improvement globally.
In recognition of International Human Rights Day, we want to share the commitments and standards that VF Corporation has put in place to ensure all those who help make our products our first priority.
Foundational to our Human Rights Commitment, we formalized our dedication to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to ensure VF practices are aligned with global standards. Last year we elevated our ambitions on human rights and joined the UN Global Compact and endorsed the UN Women's Empowerment Principles. Since then, we have been focused on aligning our business with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption through the UN Global Compact to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and meet our commitment to people and planet.
We are focused on identifying opportunities for our company to show up and drive meaningful change for our associates, consumers and communities in the face of injustices. At the same time, we are committed to further strengthening our culture of belonging, allyship and advocacy. While this has been another challenging year given the pandemic's disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations and communities, VF is proud to share some of the advancements we have made on upholding human rights.
We regularly conduct corporate-wide assessments to identify human rights touchpoints throughout our global supply chain, including fair wages, overtime, discrimination, women's rights, and freedom of association. VF then evaluates the saliency of these touchpoints based on the scale of impact, the scope of individuals affected and the remediability of issues if they occur. These findings provide direction to our human rights commitments and our efforts to prevent, mitigate and remediate adverse human rights impacts in our value chain. We took our efforts even further, and through our close work with human rights organizations including the United Nations, International Labor Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development and along with the needs assessments, identified the areas where we can have an even greater impact:
After endorsing the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), VF committed to advance on each WEPs principle. Going forward, in-scope supplier factories will be required to implement GBVH violence prevention and reporting mechanisms by 2025 and have gender proportional workplace committees by 2030. The VF Foundation has invested $250k in The Resilience Fund for Women in Global Value Chains which aims to catalyze a new era of corporate investment and philanthropy-through pooled funding, democratized processes, and women-led change.
We are proud that this work has been recognized by external groups, including the World Benchmarking Alliance's inaugural Gender Benchmark (VF tied for first place), and inclusion in the Forbes list of the World's Top Female Friendly Companies 2021.
Through our WCD program, we focus on provision of childcare within our child rights efforts. We have participated in the WeCare program in partnership with The Centre for Child Rights and Business for three years now, and in this year's WeCare program in China, four of our contract factories had set up a child friendly space on-site during the summer months. With free childcare provided onsite, migrant parents were able to bring their children to live with them during the summer. Additionally, the factories enrolled in the WeCare project have the option to give workers training on migrant parenting, including how to better communicate and stay in touch with your children when living apart.
One of the most important aspects of health and safety is that workers have access to potable water. The World Health Organization reports that 1 in 3 people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water. In addition, more than 7 billion people do not have safe sanitation services and basic handwashing facilities. Many of these people live and work in areas where VF products are manufactured. VF's WCD program partnered with WaterAid Cambodia and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) to bring safe drinking water and sanitation to rural communities near VF manufacturing hubs in Cambodia and Bangladesh. We also continued the partnership with WaterAid in late 2021 to support the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Cambodia and with WSUP to support COVID-19 vaccine registration and awareness raising in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
We're proud of the work we have done to drive access to human rights worldwide and we're committed to remaining a part of the effort to improve Human Rights. Today on International Human Rights Day, and every day, VF Corporation is committed to respecting human rights and fighting for equality as it is central to our corporate purpose of powering movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet.