Fair Wear Foundation: A responsible supply chain

As a member of the Fair Wear Foundation we’re dedicated to improving working conditions for the people making Montane clothing. Keep reading to learn more about this commitment, and the work we’re doing to ensure our high standards are met by the factories we work with.

The clothing you know and love at Montane each has a story to tell. It’s a story that starts way before landing on your doorstep ready for your own adventures. The reality is that every piece of kit we make and sell has already been on an epic journey through a complex supply chain. This includes everyone from the team of designers here at Montane HQ, to manufacturers based further afield.

Rightly so, there is a growing need for more transparency of global supply chains. This is especially true for the global garment industry which reportedly employs over 75 million workers worldwide. Not only that, but just like us, you probably want to know that the people who worked hard to make you such a great bit of kit work in a safe environment, free from discrimination or excessive hours, right? 

As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, doing business in the most responsible and fair way we can, we are dedicated to protecting and supporting the people working in our supply chainThat’s why we’re proud to have been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) since 2019.  But what does this actually mean and how does it support high standards being met? Keep reading to find out more about the FWF’s work, as well as the steps we are taking as a company to improve transparency in our supply chain.

Fair Wear Foundation | Montane

Fair Wear Foundation: A force for good

The team at the Fair Wear Foundation believe there is a better way to make clothes. This non-for-profit organisation is on a mission to ensure the garment industry supports workers to realise their rights, and factory owners to provide safe and healthy working conditions. In short, they’re all about improving social standards in the garment supply chain.

Globally, FWF works with over 140 brands to foster change, including us here at Montane. By working together, the Fair Wear Foundation and it’s member brands are able to have real, positive impact on the lives of those working in the garment factories. They ultimately provide support and solutions, and oversee any systematic changes needed. 

Code of Labour Practices

To help the FWF to achieve their goals, the organisation is guided by 8 labour standards, known as the Code of Labour Practices (CoLP). These are based on international labour standards. As a member we strive to support achieving and upholding these in every factory we work with. This includes raising and maintaining awareness amongst workers and managers in factories.

While Montane has always had these standards in place, our membership to the FWF has helped us to monitor the factories we work with against them in a more structured and effective way. This has improved our understanding of factory conditions, and our ability to support positive change where needed. For those unfamiliar, the 8 CoLP standards are as follows:1. Employment is freely chosen 2. Freedom of association and the right to bargaining 3. No discrimination 4. No exploitation of child labour 5. Payment of a living wage 6. Reasonable hours of work 7. Safe and healthy working 8. Binding employment relation

What steps we’re taking 

Did you know we work with cut and sew factories in 7 countries, all based in Asia? Each factory we work with agrees to meet our ethical standards each time we order from them. Alongside regular factory visits by our own team, the audits and training we organise improve our visibility of factory conditions. This was been especially important whilst travel was restricted by the pandemic.

These audits and factory training programmes are a key focus for FWF membership. Audits seek to highlight any issues on the ground, and cover a variety of things including: working hours and overtime, worker awareness of the CoLP, health and safety and accurate document keeping. Training programmes help to ensure factory management are communicating regularly with workers, and that worker’s understand their rights.

Fair Wear Foundation | Montane

The findings of audits are carefully examined, and with the help of any other brands working with the same factory, we’re able to act on any issues raised - in turn protecting workers’ rights.  The necessary follow up highlighted by audit reports and training programmes on making improvements is an ongoing process.

To highlight the work we do with the Fair Wear Foundation, each year we develop a Social Report. For those eager to find out more - take a look at our 2023 Social Report for more insight into the work we’ve carried out in the past year. In addition to this the FWF also carry out annual audit, called a brand performance check, on every member. This is to ensure their expectations are being met, and guide work for the year ahead. You can see Montane’s latest BCP report here.

How you can shop more consciously

As a Fair Wear Foundation member, by shopping with us, you support the basic rights of the workers who made your Montane gear, helping to make clothing fairer for everyone. For those eager to understand more about this, we suggest taking a look at our dedicated ethical trading page.