Search Report
2015 Sustainability Report
published 2016/07/13

Saying no to child labor

Children all over the world should have the chance to go to school. VAUDE opposes child labor and supports children’s rights in its production countries. In addition, we are committed to observing the special regulations that apply for adolescent employees.

What we require from our production partners

There shall be no use of child labor. The age for admission to employment shall not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling, and, in any case, not less than 15 years. There shall be no forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor.

Children aged of 15-18 shall not perform work which, by the nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm their health, safety or morals.

This is regularly reviewed by our employees on-site as well as the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)


In the 2015 audits, there were no findings on the issue of child labor or on the youth protection law.

However, in the 2014 reporting period, a FWF audit uncovered child labor at a producer’s unauthorized subcontractor (where two other FWF members also produced) in Turkey. The sub-contractors had Syrian refugee children employed who were under 15 years of age. Together with the other concerned FWF members and the FWF, a plan was worked out regarding how we could support the children and their families in the future. This plan is being implemented until the children reach the age of 15.

Details on child labor case in Turkey

This case involved five Syrian refugee children aged 12 to 14 years old that were encountered during the audit in 2014 of unauthorized subcontractors. 

More about syrian refugees in turkish garment factories here

The Turkish producer commissioned the subcontractors. VAUDE and the other two FWF member companies committed themselves to supporting the children until they reach the age of 15. A MoU "Memorandum of Understanding" was drafted and signed by all parties.

Content of the MoU:

  • We will jointly ensure that children attend school.
  • We will jointly attend to financial support of their parents until the children are 15 years of age. The total amount is divided among the three member companies of FWF and the Turkish producer.
  • We ensure that the school education of children will be supervised and monitored.

It was determined that the payments, verification of school attendance and the implementation of all measures agreed in the appropriate schedule must be made. The FWF is participating in making the measures possible and monitoring them.

What is the current standing?

The FWF assembled a team to attend to this event and the affected families over the entire project duration in Turkey.

  • The families signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they agreed to send their children to school and to confirm that they would not send their children to work.
  • The parents received financial compensation for the loss of income from the children.
  • Together with the producer, the FWF sought a school for the Syrian refugee children.
  • Since September 2015, the children have been enrolled in school.

Overall it can be said that the behavior of the families was very positive and they consented immediately to send their children to school. They were very grateful for the financial compensation they will receive during the school year until the children turn 15.

Five children from three different families were affected. One child fled to Germany with his family before the project started. At the end of October, another family with two children fled to Germany. Therefore, there are currently only two children who are attending school and whose family is being supported. The project will last until 2019, as the youngest child was born in 2004 and will have only reached the age of 15 at that time.

We are providing intensive support for our Turkish producer in the implementation of the Corrective Action Plan of the audit in 2014 to improve working conditions at the production site in the long term. In 2017, another audit will be conducted by the FWF to confirm the improvements and possibly to identify any points that need to be improved.

The production of outdoor gear requires a high level of qualification

Generally speaking, producers in high-risk countries run the risk of child labor exploitation. This problem is also seen in textile production. However, due to the highly technical and complex manufacturing processes required, the risk in the outdoor gear sector is classified as very low because qualified and experienced employees are needed. In these facilities, it is more likely that violations of youth protection such as in regard to overtime or working with chemicals will occur.

Moreover, the risk in China and Vietnam (VAUDE’s primary production countries) is not as high as in Bangladesh and India for example – two countries in which child labor is still very widespread.

GRI:   G4-HR5
Operations and suppliers identified as having significant risk for incidents of child labor, and measures taken to contribute to the effective abolition of child labor
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