What are the FWF Brand Performance Checks?
The Brand Performance Checks are an independent assessment of how each FWF member brand is working to improve labour conditions in their supply chains.
Why focus on the brand?
Decent working conditions in the clothing industry of course need the support of clothing factories – after all they employ the workers. But decent conditions also need the support of clothing brands, because they have a major influence over conditions in factories. The choices clothing brands make about how they do business can either support or undermine better working conditions.
What do the categories and scores mean?
FWF members are evaluated against a set of indicators; the benchmarking score is an indication of how brands are doing on these indicators. The monitoring percentage shows how much of a brand’s production volume is covered by their monitoring system. Depending on how long a brand has been a member, the combination of benchmarking score and monitoring percentage lead to a category.
Leader: This category is for affiliates who are doing exceptionally well, and are operating at an advanced level. Leaders show best practices in complex areas such as living wages and freedom of association.
Good: It is FWF’s belief that members that are making a serious effort to implement the Code of Labour Practices—the vast majority of FWF members—are ‘doing good’ and deserve to be recognised as such. They are also doing more than the average clothing company, and have allowed their internal processes to be examined and publicly reported on by an independent NGO. Most members will receive a ‘Good’ rating.
Needs Improvement: FWF members are most likely to find themselves in this category when major unexpected problems or organisational changes have taken place. During the past year, the member was unable to fulfil membership requirements. Needs Improvement ratings give FWF members an opportunity to get their membership back on track; after one year these brands will need to either achieve a Good rating, or membership will be suspended.
Are the requirements the same for all brands?
FWF takes a step-by-step approach, recognising that a serious commitment to improving labour conditions is neither simple nor quickly implemented. This means the minimum requirements for ‘Good’ or ‘Leader’ status increase over a three-year period: after three years brands should be functioning at a higher level than after one year.
While all brands are evaluated on the same core issues, some indicators only apply to certain business models (e.g. indicators about agents are not applied to brands that don’t use agents).
What is the benefit of these reports to consumers and to brands?
The Brand Performance Checks allow consumers to understand what FWF member brands are doing to support better working conditions in their supply chains. They also provide brands with detailed feedback that helps them to know which areas to focus on in the future.
Are ‘Good’ and ‘Leader’ brands certified 100% fair?
There’s no such thing as 100% fair clothing – yet. But FWF’s member brands are working hard to get there. Supply chains are complicated and international – which means no single brand, factory or government can improve things alone. Problems exist in all supply chains. FWF members are evaluated on what they are doing to prevent problems from happening – and on how they respond when problems are reported.
Do brands get lower scores if they receive complaints from workers?
In many garment factories, functional systems do not yet exist for workers to report and negotiate solutions to problems. FWF members commit to promoting and responding to FWF’s worker helplines, and to finding solutions to complaints. When brands receive complaints, it is often an indicator that their efforts to inform workers about their rights and the existence of helplines are succeeding. Brands only get lower scores if they fail to address worker complaints appropriately.
See our Brand Performance Check Guide 2018 for more information.