Search Report
2022 Sustainability Report
published 2023/08/01

Social responsibility in the supply chain

Social responsibility has a very high priority at VAUDE. We are not only committed to our employees at our headquarters in southern Germany, we are also committed to good working conditions for everyone involved in the manufacturing of our products. The task isn't always easy – but we are working to meet this challenge based on our convictions.

Navigating the Corona Pandemic together

In our view, holistic stewardship includes acting responsibly during a global crisis as profound as the Corona Pandemic.

When the pandemic began, we entered into close dialogue with our suppliers and sought out customized solutions. One of the biggest challenges for our partners continues to be the loss of large order volumes. VAUDE did not cancel any orders during the pandemic. As a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, we actively participated in and signed the recommendations for action on responsible purchasing practices. These include guiding principles that contain recommendations for dealing with orders as well as health risks and the risk of infection at production sites. For example, we have jointly redefined delivery dates and payment targets, always on the premise that neither side would be unduly burdened by the changes.

As a matter of principle, we are highly committed to responsibility and fairness in the supply chain and rely on long-term partnerships with our producers and suppliers. We communicate with them as partners on equal footing, and this has proven to be a distinct strength in dealing with the crisis that has served us well thus far. We produce high-quality and durable products that are manufactured under ecological and fair working conditions. We consciously accept additional expenses. Our business model is not geared toward achieving profits from the large-scale production of fast-moving collections. Instead, we plan the purchase and merchandise management of our products very precisely and have many items in our product range that are sold for several years in a row.

Leader Status at Fair Wear

VAUDE is audited annually by Fair Wear. During each Brand Performance Check audit, we must demonstrate that we are fulfilling our due-diligence obligations to promote fair and responsible working conditions for our producers. For example, we closely examine and evaluate whether we are fulfilling our duty of care in the area of human rights, whether we are carrying out training measures to improve social standards,how we take remedial action in the process to prevent and mitigate future damage, and how we are dealing with specific complaints from employees. Fair Wear awards the highest possible category, Leader Status, to companies that can demonstrate an extraordinary commitment and exemplary system through their high level of commitment to compliance with social standards in the supply chain. VAUDE first received Leader Status in 2015. Fair Wear has honored us with this status again, for the 9th time in a row.   

For more details, check out the report from Fair Wear.

Fair Wear

VAUDE has been a member of Fair Wear since 2010. (FW is one of the most recognized and strictest standards in the field of social responsibility.) This independent organization focuses primarily on the supply chain sewing industry, where labour-intensive processes take place and a large number of workers can be reached. FW therefore monitors the working conditions in our production plants.

About Fair Wear

Fair Wear is a multi-stakeholder organization with the principle of shared responsibility. This suits us very well, because the responsibility for fair working conditions does not lie with the producer alone; VAUDE as a client also contributes a large part. For this reason, Fair Wear regularly checks wheter we are complying with the requirements placed on us.

Fair Wear Scope – cut, make, trim

Our direct business partners for the manufacturing of our products are our producers. As garment makers, they manufacture our products: They prepare the fabrics, cut out pattern pieces and sew them into finished products. Quality control and packing finish off the process.

In general, the textile and clothing industry is very labour intensive. Because making clothing primarily involves manual processes that require a large number of workers, Fair Wear focuses on this part of the process. This gives us the opportunity to improve working conditions for the largest number of workers in our supply chain.

Cooperation with Fair Wear members

Fair Wear provides us with the opportunity to cooperate with other member companies. If, for example, other manufacturers work with the same producer, we can perform a joint audit. This is advantageous in that the producer must be audited only once, reducing the waste of resources – both the producer’s and ours. Another positive aspect is that in working together, we have a greater degree of influence on the producer. For example, after a joint audit or during joint training programs, we can work together with other member companies to enhance the effects of the improvement process. Read more here

Fair Wear Code of Labour Practices

VAUDE is committed to implementing Fair Wear’s Code of Labour Practices in the supply chain.

Code of Labor Practice is part of the contract

All partners must sign a commitment to comply with the Code of Labour Practices and participate in the improvement process.

Billboard for workers

Each production site must post Fair Wear's information sheet listing the 8 labour standards from the Code of Labour Practices and providing information on the Fair Wear's complaint hotline. In addition, the workers must be informed about the content of the CoLP.

Both our local employees and Fair Wear auditors regularly check whether this information sheet is posted.

Training for the workers and management

In addition, all production sites receive regular training on the content of the Code of Labour Practices and the complaint hotline. Find more here

Content of the Code of Labour Practices (CoLP)

The CoLP is based on eight core labour standards of the International labour Organization (ILO) as well as on the UN Human Rights Charter. More about the content:

Monitoring in our production facilities

All production sites with which we cooperate in the scope of Fair Wear are audited according to Fair Wear's guidelines. To obtain an up-to-date status on working conditions in the production facilities after the pandemic, we conducted numerous audits in 2022. We also have plans to conduct a significant number of audits in 2023 to gather an overview from the production sites.

Audits of Fair Wear-relevant producers

To ensure objective examination of working conditions at the production facility, producers are audited by independent FWF auditors. During the audit, Fair Wear closely examines whether or not the producer is complying with the contents of the Code of Labour Practices and applicable laws. Any discrepancies are recorded in a corrective action plan (CAP).

Fair Wear audits include the following:

  • Inspection of the entire production site
  • Review of relevant documents
  • Interviews with workers and the management

All interviews are conducted anonymously. Interviews take place both within and away from the production site.

In addition, Fair Wear surveys local stakeholders on each of the eight standards regarding the conditions and implementation of these standards in the country.

What happens after the audit?

An audit alone does not change anything. The actual work begins after the audit. After each audit, Fair Wear and the production facility agree to a binding corrective action plan (CAP) in which all deviations are listed.

We discuss this corrective action plan intensively with our producers. Together we develop joint solutions and also a schedule that specifies the date by which the respective deviations should be remedied. The challenge is to anchor the implemented measures in a sustainable manner.

Regular Re-Audits

In general, re-audits are carried out every three years. This corresponds to the Fair Wear guidelines . If a producer does particularly poorly, we initiate a verification audit earlier to check what improvements have been achieved and what issues still need to be addressed.

Are subcontractors also checked?

Yes! Because the people who work there are also involved in the manufacturing of our products, we want to comply with our human rights due diligence obligations at these locations as well. All of our producers are committed to disclosing their subcontractors.  

We have the same process with subcontractors that we have with our direct producers. Before work begins, the subcontractor must pass a confirmation process for our production. If the facility is approved, it is included in the same monitoring process that is used for our direct partners.

What about embroidery and printing?

Here, too, we demand maximum transparency from our partners. If various production steps (such as embroidery, printing or washing) cannot be carried out internally, the producer must inform us.

Deviations in the audit

The following deviations were objected to in the 2022 audits.

Production Facility

China 1

Ukraine 1

VAUDE Purchasing Practices



VAUDE-Monitoring System



Management System-Producer






Forced Labour






Child Labour



Freedom of Association /Collective Bargaining



Payment of a living wage



Working Hours



Health and Safety



Legally binding employment relationship






Social standards in the deeper supply chain

In recent years we have worked diligently on the transparency of our producers (the first stage of our supply chain), including verification and further development. Now we are going one step further and are expanding our commitment to the entire supply chain. Read more here

Supporting the improvement process

Our CSR employees who live and work in China and Vietnam and speak the local languages, support our producers and suppliers in the implementation of social standards. They assist our partners with their knowledge and experience. They also make regular follow-up visits to monitor the status of the corrective action plan.

GRI:   103
Management Approach
GRI:   408-1
Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor
GRI:   414-2
Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken
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