Patagonia following FLA guidance during pandemic

In a statement discussing the impact of covid-19 on its supply chain, outdoor brand Patagonia said it is following the Fair Labour Association (FLA) guidance on how companies can help ensure responsible purchasing and protect workers’ wellbeing during the pandemic.

The FLA guidance, issued in early April, aims to help FLA-affiliated companies navigate this global crisis. Recommendations include cancelling orders only as a last resort, paying in full for orders started or completed without renegotiation, and, in cases where involved factories are over capacity, re-allocating orders to other factories within the supplier group or approved subcontractors.

Guidance also addresses post-covid actions. For example, as retrenched workers are re-hired, FLA said, brands should work with suppliers to ensure a worker’s seniority is recognised without interruption.

“We are maintaining clear and constant communication with our apparel factory partners and have had one-on-one phone calls with each and every one to discuss their financial health and how they are weathering the impacts of Covid-19,” Patagonia said in its statement.

The company also said it is paying in full for orders that are in process or completed; for those not yet in the production process, Patagonia is working with suppliers to minimise the impacts on suppliers and workers.

Patagonia also said it is researching how its Fair Trade program can help impacted factory workers and farmers.

“While the ultimate economic impact is still unknown, we are certain that COVID-19 and its aftermath pose the most serious and far-reaching business challenge we have ever had to face,” the company said. “We’ll face that challenge as we always have, making the incredibly difficult decisions along the way guided by our values as a responsible company and evaluating the impact each decision has on our employees, our supply chain partners, the people making our products and the planet.”