029 – Clay Hickson of WRAP – Sweatshop Watchdog

Watchdog for ethical manufacturing…

Clay Hickson (profile), VP of Strategy and Business Development at WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), a non-profit organization “sweatshop watchdog” making sure manufacturers are ethical manufacturers, joins hosts Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes on location at Sourcing at Coterie. Powered by Sennheiser.

Certification and education, demands for ethical sourcing, and a history of concerns

Hickson discusses how materials are building blocks and sources of information, and how WRAP provides certifications and educational activities, doing it last year in more than 2500 factories in more than 40 countries. He reveals who pays for the costs and how many stakeholders and customers are demanding ethical sourcing including socially responsible investors. A look at child labor, forced labor, and structural integrity of building, along with the history of ethical sourcing concerns.

Auditing, local laws and conventions, and Africa

The importance of unannounced audit is discussed, and a look into WRAP as a small organization with 25 full time staff and most accreditations performed by third party auditors from reputable firms. How WRAP has zero tolerance policies, but not necessarily always permanently blacklists manufacturers. What constitutes forced labor, defining child labor internationally, and the importance of following both local laws and international conventions. Creating corrective action plans, and a growing presence in Africa.

A role model, The China Guy, and connections

Personal questions in a round of “Remnants” cover a role-model speech teacher in school has been important to Hickson as he tries to effect better international communication, optimism and positivity, how “one person’s armpit is another person’s paradise”, Amsterdam, being ‘The China Guy”, and the way connections, seeing people as potential mentors and staying connected is so important.

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