Workplace standards

Supporting guidelines

To explain how we expect our suppliers to live up to our Standards, we have produced a number of supporting guidelines that detail our expectations for fair, healthy, safe and environmentally sound workplace conditions. They make the Workplace Standards understandable and practical, provide additional guidance for our suppliers, and help us work together to find effective solutions to workplace problems.

Our guidance materials are:

  • Health and Safety Guidelines
  • Guidelines on Employment Standards
  • Environmental Guidelines/Guide to Best Environmental Practice
  • Worker Cooperative Guidelines
  • Enforcement Guidelines
  • Guidelines on Sustainable Compliance
  • Termination Guidelines.

In 2010, we issued revised versions of some of the guidelines following a comprehensive review. Our guidance materials are publicly available in full on our corporate website.

New Health and Safety Guidelines

The adidas Group's new Health and Safety (H&S) Guidelines have been developed in two parts. The first part describes occupational health and safety fundamentals, and is based on our previous Health, Safety and Environment Guidelines. We have incorporated international best practices and standards such as fire extinguisher coding, exit route requirements and extended the number of banned chemicals. We have also taken the opportunity to clarify areas of uncertainty which have been raised in the past.

The second part of the new H&S Guidelines focuses on 'Technical Application' and brings together previous Guidance Notes and Advisory Notes issued to our suppliers, including such topics as: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements, Occupational Hazards Risk Assessment and Ergonomics.

The guideline was distributed in March 2010 after it had been translated into our business partners' key languages.

Second edition of the Guidelines on Employment Standards

Since the launch of the adidas Group's first Employment Guidelines in 1999 there have been many developments on the industrial relations front, as well as increased expectations about our suppliers' own ability to better manage their staff resources. To reflect those changes, we undertook a comprehensive review of our previous guidance and prepared a new set of updated Employment Guidelines. We have termed the new guidelines our second edition.

In the second edition, the key do's and don'ts in relation to the seven employment standards remain the same. In most cases, we have simply updated the case studies to reflect more recent practices in factories, and have provided more relevant sample documentation.

As with the first version of our Employment Guidelines we have sought to build on our rich and varied experiences in tackling worker complaints and remediating specific factory issues. Hence, the guidance seeks to clarify our expectations around some core requirements, such as wage payment, working hours and leave. It also covers the protection of workers against harassment and management retaliation, as well as their fundamental rights, such as the right to strike and privacy issues. We set out our position on some of the more complex and often intractable issues, such as fair wages and migrant labour and the use of employment agencies and middle men which may exploit workers and remove the security of employment. We have also taken the opportunity to integrate guidance on layoffs and redundancy which was first developed in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

New Environmental Guidelines

These Guidelines complement the guidance offered in the 'Guide to Best Environmental Practice' (BEP) that was launched in 2005. The BEP, as the title implies, is all about best practices, whereas the Environmental Guidelines describe minimum requirements in terms of managing and reducing the use of resources and materials and ensuring that the resulting waste, discharges and emissions are also minimised and meet regulatory requirements. The Environmental Guidelines are the benchmark for environmental assessments conducted at selected supplier sites.

Group-wide Standard Operating Procedures

To ensure adherence of the adidas Group businesses with the Workplace Standards in terms of supplier inspections, selection and authorisation, Standard Operating Procedures are in place that are mandatory to all entities of the adidas Group.

Core policies and procedures that are part of the adidas Group's policy manual include:

  • A Factory Approval Policy, which describes the procedures for getting SEA authorisation for all production
  • External Monitoring Policy, which outlines requirements for external monitors conducting factory assessments on behalf of adidas Group business entities and licensees
  • A Termination Guideline, which describes our approach to ethical termination of suppliers.
  • The Fair Factories Clearinghouse procedure, which describes the responsibilities for disclosing and maintaining data in the Group's supply chain database.



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