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Schijvens is the proud winner of this year’s FWF Best Practice Award. The Dutch workwear brand managed to establish a living wage at their supplier in Turkey. Schijvens faced the challenge of wages being paid under the table, without proper registration systems. They learned some valuable lessons during the process, including figuring out the needs of local workers and the importance of raising all salaries (not just the lowest ones) to maintain wage differences that reflect workers’ skills and experience.
Their successful introduction of a living wage in the factory is an exciting step. As Schijvens explained in their submission, ‘While the main beneficiaries are the employees who got a salary raise, we believe that paying a good salary will also lead to loyal hardworking employees, so in the end Schijvens will also benefit.’
For over 150 years, Schijvens has operated in the Netherlands as a family-owned business, specializing in casual, contemporary corporate clothing with tailor-made designs. Schijvens places a high value on sustainability and has been active as a FWF member since 2010.
The two runners-up of the 2017 Best Practice Award were German outdoor brand Jack Wolfskin and German fashion brand Hessnatur. When one of Jack Wolfskin’s suppliers in Indonesia went bankrupt, the brand stepped up by establishing a welfare fund to help support the affected factory workers. They calculated the unpaid wages and severance owed and compensated workers with the proportionate amount based on the brand’s production share.
Hessnatur collaborated with a non FWF-member brand to improve internal communication between management and workers at a supplier in Turkey through a joint training programme. They did so in response to a complaint about freedom association that they received through the FWF helpline and were determined to foster a long-term relationship of trust and open dialogue with the factory. Elected workers’ representatives now meet monthly with factory management.
The other shortlisted entries this year were submitted by VAUDE, Mammut, and Stanley and Stella. Fair Wear Foundation is extremely proud of these member brands for their excellent achievements in improving working conditions and for serving as role models for other brands that are hoping to create sustainable change in the garment industry.