Creating Partnership in Brand and Factory ESG Relationships, Amanda Moretz

The complexity of the relationship between brands and the factories that produce their goods goes beyond a simple business transaction. Brands are held responsible for social, labor and environmental issues that are at the factories, most of which are located in diverse locations around the world. This study investigates whether the most common tool, the code of conduct compliance requirement, allows factories to be a partner in the process of addressing social and labor issues. Additionally, the study examines whether tools exist that present an opportunity for brands and factories to collaborate on addressing social and labor issues as well as environmental issues in the same conversation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 4 factories from diverse locations and 3 sustainability professionals representing brands. The analysis shows that factories and brands both consider the code of conduct compliance a necessary task but not one that is particularly effective at addressing the underlying issues. The analysis also shows that there is interest on the part of factories and brands to work together, and a hope that tools such as the Higg Index can provide this opportunity.

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