The Social and Labor Convergence Project (SLCP) is moving toward our goal of creating the first industry-wide framework to assess social and labor conditions.

We are pleased to announce that Sumerra has been selected as the Verification Oversight Organization (VOO) and Assent Compliance, Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC), SAC and Sedex (from 2019) will be our Accredited Hosts for the light operations rollout of the converged assessment framework.

The VOO will work with the SLCP Secretariat to ensure that verification is carried out to the highest levels of quality required for the success of this initiative. They will oversee the on-boarding of verifiers via a rigorous testing program, carry out quality checks on the verified assessment data submitted by verifiers and conduct counter-verifications.

Accredited Hosts play an important role in the SLCP assessment process, which consists of three key stages:

  • The facility conducts a self or joint assessment using Excel or an Accredited Host’s online system. They may receive support from an external consultant, such as an end user or brand.
  • Data is verified through one of the three SLCP Accredited Hosts, via their platforms, with the SLCP data collection and verification tool integrated. An SLCP-approved verifier will check completeness and accuracy of the data.
  • The verified assessments are sent to the Distribution Gateway, and then further shared with the facility-selected Accredited Host. With facility permission, the verified assessments are shared with end users (brands).

The light operations rollout of the converged assessment framework will take place from October to December 2018 in Sri Lanka and China. This important milestone for the SLCP will allow brands and manufacturers to document, verify and share audit data. The framework provides a simple, effective and descriptive assessment tool that collects relevant and essential social and labor data, and objectively assesses social and labor conditions.

Collaboration between stakeholders has driven this project forward, and the combined effort has created the potential for tangible, lasting improvements in global working conditions. The Accredited Hosts’ participation in the project, and the regulatory and technical guidance they provided, have allowed the framework to flourish into a tool that will be influential and impactful for companies in the apparel and footwear industries.

About the VOO

Sumerra was created to meet the needs of Brands, Factories, Licensees, and other Associations who are striving to improve working conditions and reduce risks throughout the world. Our foundation is the belief that every worker in a factory should be treated fairly while working in safe conditions. In addition, the surrounding environment and communities should be kept clean and healthy. We strongly believe that this can, and should be accomplished, while increasing profitability and production.

Safe Factories are productive Factories. Employees who feel valued are more productive. Factories that manage compliance at a high level also manage cost, quality and delivery equally as well. This results in a better and more profitable factory. It is Sumerra’s goal to increase the management systems and programs that promote the fair treatment of workers, worker health & safety and environmental stewardship through education, accountability and collaboration.

About the Hosts

Assent Compliance is a supply chain data management company with cloud-based SaaS solutions, including the Assent Audit & Inspection Manager. The solution, which has the ability to launch the SLCP framework, enables companies to create and maintain one traceable, exportable audit history. With the platform’s offline functionality, on-the-ground personnel can audit anywhere in the world. Data is stored and managed in real time in a secure, accessible cloud environment, or it syncs when you regain internet access. Early participation in SLCP pilot programs allowed Assent to calibrate their solution to provide seamless integration with the framework. Assent also provides cloud-based SaaS solutions for product compliance, corporate social responsibility and vendor management, which combines leading-edge technology with supply chain expertise from Assent’s diverse team of regulatory subject matter experts. Assent’s solutions are leveraged by Fortune 500 companies worldwide.

FFC is a not-for-profit established in 2004, which builds state-of-the-art software that facilitates continuous improvement in social, environmental and security issues. This results in safer, more humane working conditions for supply chain workers. The configurability of the FFC software adapts to each client’s unique needs thus allowing them to execute their own CSR approach, and this is popular among industry leaders with sophisticated compliance requirements, or the need to utilize different assessment tools for different suppliers.  FFC software enhances the capacity of business to conduct ethical sourcing more efficiently at all tiers of the supply chain. FFC promotes the  sharing of expertise and collaboration between companies to improve workplace conditions.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is the apparel, footwear, and textile industry’s leading alliance for sustainable production. The Coalition develops the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement suite of tools for all industry participants. The tools measure environmental and social and labor impacts across the supply chain. With the Higg Index, the industry is addressing inefficiencies, driving performance improvement, and working to achieve the environmental and social transparency consumers are demanding. By joining forces, the SAC addresses the urgent, systemic challenges that are impossible to change alone. The SAC’s Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) assesses social and labor performance across the global value chain. Through a collaborative effort, the SAC leverages the work and findings of the SLCP to inform the Higg FSLM.

Sedex will become an accredited host in 2019. Sedex is one of the world’s largest organizations for helping companies identify and managing risk in their supply chain. Their online collaborative platform is used for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains, enabling their members to bring together many kinds of different data, standards and certifications about labor rights, health and safety, the environment and business ethics.  Sedex has been an SLCP signatory since the end of 2015. Since joining the project, Sedex team members have been actively involved in working groups and have been elected to the Steering Committee.