W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. including its subsidiaries (Gore) is a uniquely creative, technology-driven Enterprise focused on discovery and product innovation. Gore has served a variety of global markets for 60 years and has thrived by providing its customers with high-value products that enhance the quality of life. Associates take great pride in being part of a strong global Enterprise and in the broad contributions we make to society.
At Gore, we fully support efforts to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking. Everyone in our enterprise is expected to demonstrate integrity in all relationships when dealing with suppliers, customers and stakeholders, as well as with other Gore Associates. We are collectively committed to fostering a safe and healthy work environment where diverse teams of Associates collaborate to drive innovation, high performance, and responsibly direct their activities to achieve exceptional business results.
Gore’s purchasing terms require that suppliers comply with applicable laws and regulations. Consequently, many of our external suppliers have not been explicitly required to certify or to undergo audit in order to verify the absence of forced labor or human trafficking.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” has noted that garments and textiles have been determined to be sectors at risk. Gore has addressed this risk by adopting Gore Guidelines on Social Responsibility (GSR). These guidelines set forth our expectations regarding fair labor requirements, positive working environments, compliance with legal and environmental regulations, and other topics. Gore expects its suppliers, business partners, distributors, and any other representatives to maintain this same level of social responsibility. Most finished apparel products made with Gore fabrics are placed on the market by our customers, many of which have programs in place to address forced labor and human trafficking.
Gore is a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which developed the Higg Index to drive transparency of fair labor conditions within the value chain. Gore is also an active user of the HIGG Index for assessing and sharing sustainability performance of our manufacturing units. To that end, in 2018, the HIGG Index rolled out the HIGG Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), a comprehensive tool designed to assess labor practices. In 2019, Gore Fabrics is preparing for the first independent verification by a certified third-party auditing company of our own manufacturing facility in China using this new tool. FSLM verification audits will be conducted in other Gore manufacturing facilities as the tool becomes available in those countries and the results will be shared with our business partners. We encourage our suppliers and business partners to use the Higg Index FSLM to assess their performance on fair working conditions.
Our GORE® Wear business has affiliated with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), adopting that organization’s Code of Conduct for garment manufacture. This requires that GORE® Wear garment manufacturing facilities conduct business in alignment with the FLA Code of Conduct or an equivalent code of conduct and to perform third party audits to verify the garment manufacturers’ compliance. Additionally, social audit spot checks are performed by the Fair Labor Association. In April 2019, as a member of FLA, GORE® Wear committed to publicly disclosing the list of our Tier 1 supplier facilities for enhanced transparency and accountability in supply chains. Also in 2019, in an effort to combat forced labor, GORE® Wear joined the American Apparel & Footwear Association and Fair Labor Association's Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment which calls on brands to uphold certain standards when employing foreign migrant employees and to publicly report on their efforts.
To help highlight the importance of acting socially responsibly, Associates involved in supply chain management of finished apparel products have received training which includes the subjects of human trafficking and forced labor. A confidential reporting channel, specific to social responsibility matters, has been designated to handle reports of non-compliance. Gore’s Code of Conduct also includes important guidelines for all Associate interactions with suppliers, customers, other external stakeholders, and each other.
Since 2014, Gore Fabrics has been reporting on its various sustainability initiatives in the form of annual Responsibility Updates. Outside of our Fabrics division, in 2017 we began educating Associates in our Performance Solutions Division on human trafficking risks. In 2019, we implemented a training plan to broaden this training in all divisions for Associates with exposure to market sectors with known human trafficking risks. This training educates Associates on identifying potential signs of forced labor within our supply base.
Gore strives to be fair to everyone with whom we do business. We value fair labor practices, we continue to review our Enterprise for risks of modern slavery and human trafficking, and commit to mitigating those risks wherever we find them.
Chief Executive Officer
18 July 2019