Switcher, a Swiss fashion and promotional wear company, joined FWF in 2006.
Brand Performance Check 2015
Switcher S.A. meets most of Fair Wear Foundation's management system requirements. Switcher systematically works towards resolution of corrective actions. After FWF and third party audits, remediation steps were taken and follow up is being closely monitored. The company has piloted a living wage project at one of its suppliers in China; an approach which it intends to replicate and expand to other factories in 2015. Switcher provides full transparency about its supply chains. Entering a code indicated on all garment labels on the 'respect-code' website gives information about the supplier, origin of fabric and links to relevant audit reports. Switcher is encouraged to take steps towards analysing the root causes of excessive overtime and how this relates to its own buying practices. Moreover, it can encourage more suppliers to take part in FWF's Workplace Education Programme.
In 2014 Switcher implemented significant changes in its supplier base when it decided to relocate production from a (relatively) large number of factories in Europe (mostly Portugal) to a limited number of factories in India, owned by PGC, the parent company of Switcher. A total of 16 suppliers (out of a total 27 suppliers worldwide), including all European suppliers accounting for 50% of total 2014 FOB purchases, are phased out. For some suppliers Switcher was a very important client, accounting for some 15-20% of production capacity. Fair Wear Foundation is concerned whether a careful and gradual exit strategy is followed allowing European suppliers to prepare for the drop in order volume and mitigate impact on employment of workers.
Most of Switcher’s monitoring efforts in 2014 were focused on high-risk countries, mainly India, Bangladesh and China. However, nearly 50% of its total purchasing volume in 2014 is sourced in low-risk countries. Following the decision in 2014 to relocate production to India, Switcher did not visit the majority of its European suppliers and thus did not ascertain whether the CoLP was posted. As a result, it did not meet FWF monitoring requirements for low-risk countries For some European suppliers, however, external audits were conducted which were follow-up by Switcher. Taking the above into account, its monitoring percentage dropped to 68%, well below the 90% required for brands that are Fair Wear members for more than 3 years. This automatically places Switcher in the 'Needs Improvement’ category. It has one year to bring its monitoring percentage back up to reach 'Good' status. In addition, Switcher has one year grace period during which it may continue with on-garment communication mentioning Fair Wear Foundation, such as sewn-in labels and hangtags. If Switcher fails to reach 'Leader' status after one year it will lose the right to use on-garment communication. With a strong consolidation in India, and with a number of audits and WEPs planned for 2015, FWF is confident that Switcher will indeed manage to meet the required 90 % threshold in 2015 and, with a sufficiently high benchmark score, regain Leader status.
Score: 71 Percentage under monitoring: 68% Category: Needs Improvement
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