Product Sourcing and Labor Rights
While L.L.Bean is a global company, "Made in the USA" has been a part of our heritage for 100 years. We're one of the last multi-channel U.S. merchants to still own and operate a U.S. manufacturing facility. We employ 450 people at our Brunswick, Maine, factory, where we continue to make iconic products such as the Maine Hunting Shoe, L.L.Bean Boots, Boat and Tote Bags, dog bed liners and small leather goods. (Our talented craftsmen and women manufacture approximately 1,300 pairs of L.L.Bean Boots per day; we shipped over 300,000 pairs in 2011.)
L.L.Bean is committed to selling products that are manufactured under legal, safe and fair working conditions. To this end we have a well-established labor code of conduct that serves as the basis of our vendor relationships. The code of conduct is actively communicated and monitored through an internal monitoring process, supplemented by collaborative efforts with other companies and organizations.
L.L.Bean's global factory-monitoring program has been in place since 1993. In 1996, L.L.Bean joined the White House-initiated Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP), a coalition that included U.S. retailers, non-governmental organizations, labor organizations, Business for Social Responsibility and representatives of the Department of Labor and the State Department. AIP's goal is to develop generally accepted principles to define reasonable treatment of workers, and launch further collaboration and organizational efforts to insure acceptable treatment of workers in a global marketplace.
In 1997, we adopted the Apparel Industry Code of Conduct and updated monitoring practices. We expect all employees, suppliers and contractors to adhere to our Code of Conduct. In support of the Code, L.L.Bean monitoring teams evaluate factory performance on a broad set of criteria that cover employment practices affecting child labor, compensation, health and safety, legal requirements, freedom of association, discrimination and harassment in the workplace and forced labor (see below). Risk assessments will include additional focus on monitoring and slavery risks within the supply chain. We employ full-time factory assessors as well as third party independent monitors around the globe where our suppliers are located. They conduct both scheduled and unannounced audits.
In 2013, L.L.Bean joined the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a group of prominent North American apparel companies committed to the development and implementation of programs aimed at improving safety in Bangladesh's garment factories. The Alliance gives apparel companies like L.L.Bean the ability to work together to put forth solid solutions to issues that impact the global apparel and retail industries.
L.L.Bean is committed to continuous improvement in our supply chain, including considerations for animal welfare. To ensure that the down in our products comes from ethically treated animals we have adopted Textile Exchange’s Responsible Down Standard for all our down and feather products. We will begin using traceable, certified down in our products in Fall 2015 with all down products certified by Fall 2017. Details (PDF)
We aggressively investigate reports of code violations and require factories to make all changes necessary to achieve compliance with our code. A course of action is identified for any noncompliance concerns. Although monitoring hundreds of factories worldwide is an ongoing challenge, L.L.Bean has an effective program that has made a meaningful contribution to improving global sourcing practices.
We constantly benchmark and review our factory-monitoring program through collaboration with other organizations that conduct monitoring, by participating in projects and conferences, and through frequent internal reviews. We also work with consultants to upgrade our practices and conduct frequent staff training exercises. We are members of the Fair Factories Clearinghouse, along with other like-minded brands that are committed to best practices in factories. We support the International Labor Organization's Better Work program with a goal toward improving working conditions further upstream in our supply chain, including fabric mills and parts suppliers.
The issues surrounding product sourcing are complex and ever changing. The overall goal of our sourcing program is to ensure product quality and value standards that our customers expect while working with vendors who share our commitment to acceptable labor practices.
L.L.Bean Code of Conduct
Forced labor. There shall not be any use of forced labor, whether in the form of prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor or otherwise.
Child labor. No person shall be employed at an age younger than 15 (or 14 where the law of the country of manufacture allows) or younger than the age for completing compulsory education in the country of manufacture where such age is higher than 15.
Harassment or abuse. Every employee shall be treated with respect and dignity. No employee shall be subject to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse.
Nondiscrimination. No person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, or social or ethnic origin.
Health and safety. Employers shall provide a safe and healthy working environment to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of employer facilities.
Freedom of association and collective bargaining. Employers shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Wages and benefits. Employers recognize that wages are essential to meeting employees' basic needs. Employers shall pay employees, as a floor, at least the minimum wage required by local law or the prevailing industry wage, whichever is higher, and shall provide legally mandated benefits.
Hours of work. Except in extraordinary business circumstances, employees shall (i) not be required to work more than the lesser of (a) 48 hours per week and 12 hours overtime or (b) the limits on regular and overtime hours allowed by the law of the country of manufacture or, where the laws of such country do not limit the hours of work, the regular work week in such country plus 12 hours overtime and (ii) be entitled to at least one day off in every seven day period.
Overtime compensation. In addition to their compensation for regular hours of work, employees shall be compensated for overtime hours at such premium rate as is legally required in the country of manufacture or, in those countries where such laws do not exist, at a rate at least equal to their regular hourly compensation rate.
For more information contact:
Public Affairs Dept.
Freeport, ME 04033-0001