Grinnell College, IA Apparel Purchasing Policy
Status: Adopted in November 2003
Source File: Click here
The College actively supports efforts to end unjust working conditions and to achieve compliance with internationally agreed upon norms, such as those identified by the International Labor Organization and the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Consistent with Grinnell College’s Statement of Core Values, College apparel purchasing and licensing decisions will be guided not only by prudent price-value considerations, but also by the principles of promoting social well-being. When it is determined that significant “social injury” is being caused by an “apparel company,” the College will take this into account in making its apparel purchasing and licensing decisions.
1. “Social Injury” means the injurious impact which the activities of an Apparel Company are found to have on consumers, employees, or other persons, particularly including activities which violate, or frustrate the enforcement of, rules of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals’ health, safety, or basic freedoms.
Examples of such injury may include, but are not limited to: forced labor; the use of child labor; harassment or abuse; egregious discrimination; infringements on women’s rights; an unsafe or unhealthy work environment; participation in the conscious corruption of local laws and governments; abusive plant and facility closings in a succession of places; prevention of free association and collective bargaining; failure to meet reasonable applicable standards for work hours, wages and benefits; and policies and practices unreasonably harmful to the environment. The precise standards can and will change from time to time and the College and the Apparel Purchasing Committee established pursuant to this policy will take into account evolving standards of decency, fair practice, and justice, including any official articulation of such standards promulgated by the Fair Labor Association, the Workers Rights Consortium, the International Labor Organization and any other similar organization concerned with fair treatment for workers and also the attached set of standards prepared by the Grinnell College Students Against Sweatshops. The members of the Apparel Purchasing Committee shall in evaluating the conduct of Apparel Companies, apply those relevant standards from the foregoing that they determine are best designed to achieve the just and decent treatment of the employees of the company.
2. “Apparel Company” means a company whose apparel products are being purchased or considered for purchase by the College or any licensees, and specifically includes such company’s subcontractors, independent contractors, vendors, manufacturers or other entities involved in the production of such company’s apparel products.
The College is conscious of the diverse, dynamic nature of the world around it. As such, it is inappropriate to attempt to force upon others the conditions and expectations that come from our privileged position in the world community. Therefore, in making its apparel purchasing and licensing decisions, the College may take into account the cultural, economic and social contexts in which each Apparel Company operates. Nevertheless, it is the College’s goal to ensure that any Apparel Company which sells its products to the College or acts as a licensee, treats its employees justly and decently including the compensation paid and in all other working conditions. The College intends the adoption of this “Grinnell College Purchasing Policy” to take advantage of our collective influence, along with our peer institutions, to reform rather than close factories where abuses occur. In making this determination, the Committee shall consider whether and to what extent “social injury” is occurring as a result of the employment conditions of any Apparel Company. In deciding whether to deal or continue to deal with any Apparel Company, the College and its Committee will take action if there is a reasonable basis to believe that an Apparel Company is not treating its employees justly and decently.
The College will endeavor to obtain current and valid information about an Apparel Company’s compliance the principles set forth in this policy before purchasing its products. The College also will cooperate in organized efforts to obtain information needed to make purchasing decisions and to influence Apparel Companies to meet this standard.
1. When entering into purchase orders for apparel products, the College will provide the seller with a copy of this Policy and state its expectation that the Apparel Companies involved will comply with this Policy. When entering into licensing agreements, if any, whereby the licensee is authorized to purchase and resell apparel bearing the College’s emblematics, the College will include this Policy as part of any agreement. The College will request from time to time from any supplier or licensee a list of all production facilities and their locations, which must be rendered within a reasonable period of time.
2. The Apparel Purchasing Committee (“the Committee”) is charged by the Board of Trustees and the President with the responsibility of reviewing any credible and substantial information that comes to the Committee’s attention from any authoritative source that brings into question the practices of an Apparel Company. Sources may include the public media, monitoring or watch-type organizations (e.g., the Workers Rights Consortium, the Fair Labor Association, and others), and members of the campus community. The Committee then will provide the Apparel Company with a copy of this Policy, describe the information that has caused concern about its compliance with the Policy and request a response. The Committee will consider the Apparel Company’s response, along with other available information, and determine what, if any, further steps should be taken. The Committee, in consultation with the President, shall direct its efforts to the principal goal of this Policy, namely to obtain compliance with the Policy by the Apparel Company. If those efforts fail, the College may elect to stop purchasing the products of the Apparel Company in question, continue to press for compliance, or take other appropriate steps. The committee is required to submit publicly to the College community a general account of its investigations and activities stating whether there is reasonable doubt that an Apparel Company is treating its employees justly and decently.
3. The Committee will periodically review information on the conduct of Apparel Companies whose products the College and its licensee are purchasing. The Committee then may take any action deemed appropriate based upon the information obtained, including proceeding as described in the foregoing paragraph.
4. The Committee will at least annually evaluate the scope, application and implementation of this Policy and recommend appropriate revisions or other changes if necessary to meet the overall College goal of encouraging its suppliers of goods and services to act in a socially responsible manner.
5. The Committee will be chaired by the Vice-President for College Services and shall include the Bookstore manager, one Physical Education faculty member and one other faculty member nominated by the Faculty Organization Committee, and three students nominated by SGA.