In 2021 HAVEP achieved Fair Wear Leader status, the highest rating awarded by the Fair Wear Foundation. We are very proud of this achievement. We would like to celebrate this milestone with our employees and customers, because we could never have done it alone. Thank you for your commitment and support; this Fair Wear Leadership is also yours. You'll never work alone! In this blogpost we explain what Fair Wear is, what our impact is and what it means for you.
What is Fair Wear?
The Fair Wear Foundation is an organization whose members are committed to fairer wages and better working conditions for people involved in the production of clothes.
They pursue eight goals:
1. Free choice of work: work is not done under duress or from prison;
2. Collective: workers have the right to form a union and bargain collectively;
3. Discrimination: the employment relationship is based on the principle of equal opportunities, regardless of race, skin colour, sex, religion, political affiliation, trade union membership, nationality, social origin, defects or disabilities;
4. Child labour: anyone under the age of 15 or under compulsory school age shall not be admitted to employment:
5. Fair pay: wages meet the minimum legal or industrial standards and are sufficient to cover the basic needs of the workers and their families;
6. Reasonable working hours: workers are not required to work more than 48 hours per week on a regular basis. They get at least one day off per seven-day period. Overtime is voluntary and compensated with an allowance.
7. Safe and healthy: the working environment is safe and hygienic. Best practices in occupational health and safety are promoted
8. Labour laws: the obligations of the laws and regulations arising from the normal employment relationship are adhered to.
Why is HAVEP a Fair Wear Leader?
The efforts of our employees and the support of our partners led to the achievement of Fair Wear Leader status in 2021. The status 'Leader' is the highest performance benchmark category of the Fair Wear Foundation. You don't become a Fair Wear Leader overnight. It is a process that takes years. HAVEP became one of the first companies to join Fair Wear in 2004. With the support of the Fair Wear Foundation, we have taken an active role in promoting fair wages, 8-hour working days and safe working conditions in all our workshops. Our suppliers have signed the FWF Code of Labour Practices, agreeing to support fair working conditions and always allowing audits. To achieve this status, a brand must meet high performance standards and work closely with their production sites. In addition to the audits in the workshops, Fair Wear also conducts an annual audit in the form of the Brand Performance Check, which looks at the steps taken by HAVEP to improve working conditions. Based on this, a score and a status are awarded.
Our route to leadership
HAVEP is a 157 year old family business with a long history in cloth and garment production. In the past, spinning, weaving, finishing and making up were all done at HAVEP. Although we are still located in the same place, over the years the production and garment making has moved abroad. The expertise still exists within HAVEP, so we have built strong partnerships with our suppliers and production sites, based on knowledge, support and common understanding. HAVEP has a relatively small and stable number of workshops that we have been working with for a long time. With several studios we have a relationship that goes back to 1978 or even earlier. This means that there is plenty of room for dialogue on how to improve working conditions in the long term. We largely work according to the cut-make-trim principle. We know where our products are made and by whom. We regularly visit our production facilities and keep the dialogue open for continuous improvement and the pursuit of fair pay. Since 2013, we have our own workshop in North Macedonia.
We are very proud that this workshop is considered a model workshop by FWF. "In the end, it is worth to mention that the HAVEP Macedonia factory is one of the best examples of how the garment should be established and how it should treat its employees. We as auditors praise such commitment and recommend it as a good example." (FWF audit report Oct. 2020)
The results of these audits are discussed with the workshops. For us, the mindset of management, the willingness to improve, is crucial. We understand that some steps are more difficult to take, but we want to see progress and change. If a production site is not willing to continuously improve, after support and assistance, that is a reason for us not to continue our cooperation.
Challenges and the future
Fair Wear knows that improving working conditions doesn't happen in a day. Member companies do not have to meet all the conditions straight away, but they do have to show that they are continuing to improve. We also have to take into account the constantly changing economy of a country. For example, inflation and price increases also affect fair wages. In addition, some ateliers produce clothes not only for HAVEP. We would like to work towards a fair wage, but for other brands produced in the same atelier this is not always an option.
What ingredients ensure that we continue to improve in this area?
• We continue to monitor our ateliers and based on the findings we improve the working conditions;
• We continue to work on paying fair wages to the employees who work at the permanent core of our ateliers;
• We provide training to people in our workshops, for example in Health & Safety;
• We ensure that our workshops, which together account for 90% of our production volume, are audited. We draw up an improvement plan based on the result;.
• This should lead to our Brand Performance Check remaining stable or even growing. We are now scoring 79. A minimum of 75 is required for leadership status.
What does the Fair Wear Leader status mean for you?
By communicating about this we want to make our customers and partners aware of the fact that behind the clothing production there are many people who are not working under fair and safe conditions. You can check out the brands that make clothing production fair and safe on the Fair Wear website. Here you will find more information about the status of the brand and the efforts it is making. So you can be sure where your clothes come from. In addition, we are convinced that we can help you achieve your sustainable goals in this way. We at HAVEP try to keep People, Planet and Progress in balance. Fortunately, we also see more and more companies and governments where fair and safe working conditions are a must when choosing clothing. The more demand, the more brands will jump on this train. And we can only applaud that!
Want to know more?
Would you like to know more about how the cooperation with HAVEP can help you to achieve your own sustainability goals? Then please contact us.
HAVEP You'll never work alone