Globalization, with its volatile mix of economic opportunity and social disruption, has provoked numerous reports of exploitative working conditions in global supply chain facilities. Since the early 90s, companies have monitored conditions in their supply chain to ensure international standards are upheld. Nevertheless, there was no comprehensive process, nor industry tool, for managing or sharing audit information. Many laudable efforts to create a widespread process have resulted in multiple, duplicative systems, with too many resources spent on identifying the issues, and not solving them.
A conference organized by World Monitors, Inc. November 2002 titled: "Making It Right: Lessons and Solutions in Global Sourcing " exposed the urgent need for a better way for companies to systematically find and use factories monitored for human rights standards.
In January 2003, Reebok and the National Retail Federation joined forces to explore how a database could be offered, on a non-profit basis, as a way for companies to more effectively manage factory compliance programs. In April 2003 World Monitors, Inc. proposed a "Fair Factories Clearinghouse" to the U.S. Department of State, stating that "one essential step to create sustainable, cost-effective monitoring systems from workplaces around the world is a shared 'Fair Factories Database'." The proposal for funding was accepted in 2004.
Reebok International Ltd., the National Retail Federation, Retail Council of Canada and World Monitors joined forces and created the Fair Factories Clearinghouse in late 2004.
The FFC was established to use technology to:
Lower the cost of entry for those seeking to manage compliance programs
Improve the availability, comprehensiveness, and standardization of compliance standards and audits through the use of a global management system to track workplace conditions
Facilitate the exchange of non-competitive information concerning factory compliance, and enable collaboration in global efforts to assess and improve workplace conditions
Reduce audit fatigue through the sharing of compliance data, without mandating any specific standard or rating factories
Since the beginning of FFC, we have had a two-fold purpose:
1. Enhance collaboration among industry stakeholders to improve workplace conditions.
2. Provide a configurable platform environment that conforms to member needs as an alternative to the rigid assessment systems available in the marketplace.
Since 2006, we've been creating a variety of tools for facilitating compliance related collaboration. We have been systematically enhancing the application to make it as configurable as possible to each member's unique business requirements. As a true software development organization, we have successfully met the requirements of the most demanding industry leaders and a variety of other CSR clients that need our technical and CSR expertise.
Membership grows to include, in addition to industry associations and companies, nonprofit organizations.