The factory based complaint system is inadequate at many production sites. So it is very important to us that workers have the opportunity to contact a neutral entity – the FW complaint helpline. Complaints may either be made anonymously or personal identifying information can be included. The complaint offices are supervised by local FW employees who speak the same language as the workers, are in the same time zone and come from the same culture. This is crucial for building trust.
Once VAUDE learns of a complaint, it is immediately addressed following the FW guidelines. FW forwards the issue to us and we are obligated to resolve it together with our producers. In turn, we report our resolutions measures to FW. FW checks whether the complaint was adequately resolved and then publishes the report on its website. Read more here
All of our production sites in China, Vietnam and Myanmar have already participated in FW's Workplace Education Training program (WEP). More here
One component of the WEP training is the complaint system. The complaint system is explained to workers as well as to the management and contact information is distributed on small cards. The focus is also on internal communication between workers and management and factory-based complaint systems. The goal is to solve problems within the factory and to resort to the FW complaint system only when additional help is needed.
"We see the fact that the number of complaints increased as a positive sign. It means that our training program is effective, workers feel safe enough to protest and have confidence in the system. This is the only way to make progress and to ensure enduring improvement of working conditions.”
This system is effective in addressing complaints about working conditions and human rights violations at our production facilities. We are working to establish a similar complaints system for environmental issues such as when chemicals are handled improperly or waste is not disposed of properly. In addition, we would like to make these complaint systems available not only to our producers, but also to their suppliers who produce materials for VAUDE products. We are currently searching for partners: other brands to operate the systems jointly with us and/or organizations that maintain a system such as this that our suppliers’ employees could use.