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2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

Is responsible production in Myanmar possible?

This is the question we have asked ourselves. Together with our longtime production partners, we are committed to good working conditions in Myanmar.

Production in Myanmar - a loyal partnership

VAUDE has a longstanding partner with whom we have made a small number of your VAUDE products inMyanmar. This is in a production facility owned by a Taiwanese partner that we have been working closely with for many years. We are aware of the risks that production in Myanmar brings with it and put considerable effort into ensuring that the production facility meets our high standards. One example is a training project that we implemented in Myanmar that won honors from the FWF

 

We have full transparency throughout the production facility and are familiar with the working conditions there. Our partner is also highly committed to improving working conditions and sees it as part of their responsibility towards their employees. They were awarded the Social Compliance Excellence Award in 2016 for their commitment by the Textile Industry Association in Myanmar (MGMA). We are very pleased that our production partner is on the right track.


Why does VAUDE produce in Myanmar?

In 2003, VAUDE decided to relocate a small part of its production to Myanmar. The reason for this was that our partner urgently needed customers to maintain the production facility there.

Our partner had already started production in Myanmar in 1999 ¬– at the time mainly for the American market. After the USA embargo in 2003, many of our partner’s customers canceled their orders. So the producer asked us whether we could move some production to Myanmar. Due to the embargo, our partner’s Myanmar production site was facing closure and badly needed new customers. In order to maintain jobs there, VAUDE decided to expand its production to Myanmar in 2003. Since then, we have manufactured a small selection of products in this factory.


Today the factory employs almost 2,000 people. VAUDE orders make up 37 % of the total capacity. The production facility in Myanmar accounts for 11 % of the total turnover for all VAUDE product groups.

FWF allows the production in Myanmar only under certain conditions

We think that it's good that the FWF sets stricter requirements for production in Myanmar. Despite the fact that Myanmar has made some progress with civil and political rights, it still counts as a high-risk country because there is a good chance that labor standards won't be met. In addition, the annual FWF Brand Performance Check (BPC) monitors us to ensure that we are meeting all requirements and fulfilling our responsibilities.

The following additional requirements from the FWF are in effect for production in Myanmar: 


  • Working with production facilities that are connected to the military is prohibited.
  • When a company wants to produce in Myanmar, it must discuss the reasons for this in advance with the FWF
  • The FWF-member shall contribute to social dialogue with the production facilities. 
  • An explanation of how the 8 working standards in Myanmar can be improved.
  • Wages at the factory must be published. 

Monitoring of the production facility in Myanmar

Like all of our other production facilities, the facility in Myanmar also undergoes monitoring. The last audit was conducted in December 2016 and a verification audit is already planned for 2018.

In the audit there were some deviations that were collected in the corrective action plan (CAP). We have already met with our producers and discussed the CAP as well as developed and set measures for remediation. Our CSR employees don’t just check on the progress made, but work together with the producers, offering them expert advice for implementing the measures. These CSR employees visit the production facility several times per year.


In addition, the audit involved reviewing wages and creating a comparison of wages paid with the minimum wage. We've decided to represent wages in PPP$ rather than local currency. Why?


You can't compare salaries of different countries of production if they are given in local currency because you don't really know how much things cost there. For this reason, we have converted wages and also minimum wages into their purchasing power using

the World Bank's conversion factor.


2016 wages in Myanmar

Create your own infographics

Here you can see the wages of our producer in Myanmar, which were collected during the 2016 audit. Because every producer is audited every 3 years (as a general rule), we consequently have up-to-date wage data at 3 year intervals.


Interested in wages paid for production in other countries? You can find them here

Social Compliance Excellence Award

We are very proud that our producer was awarded the Social Compliance Excellence from the Textile Industry Association in Myanmar (MGMA) in 2016.


Skills training

To create good long-term working conditions, it is important that the production facility’s management receive training. This is the only way to firmly anchor strategies and processes to improve the working conditions in the long term.

SMART Compliance Academy

For this reason we have cooperated with SMART Myanmar for several years. SMART is a European Union project with the goal of promoting sustainable textile production in the country. Our producer has participated in the SMART Compliance Academy. Within the framework of this 6-month training, the fundamentals of a sustainable management system are taught in workshops and factory visits, and the system is then put into practice. In addition, our producer took part in additional training in the areas of personnel management and intercultural communication.


SMART Personnel Management Training

Our producer also took part in the personnel management training organized by SMART Myanmar. The aim of the training was to improve the processes of the personnel management system.


SMART Cross-cultural training

The goal of the training was to discuss the challenges of intercultural communication in the production plants. In addition, the management team of the production plant (which were mostly foreign) were introduced to the culture of Myanmar and made aware of cultural issues. The feedback after the training was positive throughout.


Training to check the age of new employees

Over 30 representatives from 16 apparel factories producing for FWF members came together in Myanmar to discuss the challenges presented by age verification for new employees. Our producer also took part in the training. Ideas and methods were discussed with local FWF staff to create a strong and secure age verification system.

VAUDE honored by the FWF

Together with the brands Jack Wolfskin and Salewa, we conducted a training project in Myanmar. For this, we were awarded with the Best Practice Award by the FWF. Read more here


FWF Best Practice: How three FWF outdoor brands joined forces

GRI:   414-2
Negative social impacts in the supply chain and actions taken
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