University visits Vietnam and China

In early 2008, the adidas Group received a request from the University of Notre Dame in the United States to visit factories in Asia.

adidas America Inc., the adidas Group's US subsidiary, is licensed by Notre Dame to make collegiate sportswear products. The licensing agreement is managed by the University's Licensing Department and in-house legal team. A delegation of three senior staff from these two departments travelled to Asia in June 2008, accompanied by the President and Executive Vice President of Follets, a supplier and management company that runs university bookstores which sell collegiate-licensed products. The primary objective of their trip was to attend the Fair Labor Association meetings and Stakeholder Forum in Shanghai. However, they also wanted to take the opportunity, while in Asia, to see first-hand the general working conditions in factories and understand government restriction on trade union activities.

Notre Dame operates a policy that prohibits production in countries, such as China and Vietnam, as they do not lawfully recognise fundamental free association rights. The adidas Group provided the delegation with access to large-scale footwear and apparel suppliers in southern Vietnam and arranged meetings in Hanoi with the Director of Industrial Relations, the Ministry of Labour, Social and Invalid Affairs and with the Chief Technical Advisor for the ILO/Vietnam Industrial Relations Project. In China, visits were arranged to two mid-sized apparel suppliers. The feedback from the delegation was positive and they confirmed that the factory visits had provided them with a useful insight into the social compliance challenges in Asia.

See how this initiative met our stakeholder engagement target.