Our Vendor Code of Ethics (VCoE) outlines exactly what we stand for when it comes to manufacturing, and all suppliers are expected to uphold legal, humane, and ethical standards of production. These areas are of particular interest to our stakeholders:
We have a zero-tolerance policy towards child labour at any of our manufacturing facilities. Suppliers must ensure that all employees in their facilities have completed compulsory education and are at least 15 years of age or meet the local legal working age, whichever is highest. We require our suppliers to maintain a labour force register that verifies the age of all employees and establishes a child remediation program if an underage employee is discovered. Our remediation program requires suppliers to take full responsibility for the education of the child until they finish completing compulsory education. After that, we offer them employment when they reach age 15, unless local law states a higher age.
Under our VCoE, employees have the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. This means employees can choose to form and belong to a union, or not belong to a union or any other type of employee organization. Over 40 percent of the finished goods facilitites that we work with have independent, democratically elected unions. We believe that an open, direct relationship between employees and management is the best way to create a healthy and harmonious workplace.
All suppliers must have an internal grievance system that allows for anonymity. This is especially important in places where employees have restricted legal rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, to make sure honest feedback is exchanged. All employees can reach lululemon directly and confidentially, through an email address that is publicly available on every Vendor Code of Ethics poster, which are posted in employee languages in all facilities. Our in-house team follows up on every complaint, responding to the worker and then conducting an internal and/or third party investigation as needed, until the issue is resolved to align with our Code.
Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, happens in many developing countries. We have a zero-tolerance policy toward forced or bonded labour and take actions to ensure this is not happening in our supply chain. Our assessment experts are trained to identify human trafficking, forced or bonded labour, and other practices that may infringe on employees’ basic human rights.
Learn more about our efforts to prevent human trafficking >
Our suppliers must pay employees at least the local minimum wage, and provide benefits in accordance with all relevant applicable local laws. In regions where there is no legal minimum wage, suppliers must pay an industry-average wage (or higher) that can sustain an employee’s needs. We don’t own any of the facilities that manufacture our products so we can’t set wages, but we choose partners that treat their employees well and many of our suppliers are preferred employers in their communities.
Our zero-tolerance policy for any kind of forced labour includes involuntary overtime. Working overtime must be optional and compensated at the legal premium rate. Regardless of the supplier country’s law, no employee should work more than 60 hours or seven days in a week, on a regular basis. If this cannot be avoided due to unforeseen circumstances, our suppliers must make an overtime request to our sustainability team for approval, and if approved, provide a substitute rest period or holiday. If we believe that excessive overtime is becoming commonplace in a facility, our sustainability team will work with the vendor to help identify the root of the problem and eliminate the practice. Suppliers must request permission from lululemon for all overtime.
All areas of our Vendor Code of Ethics have management procedures to ensure positive resolution. When an issue is discovered through various channels, the facility’s Partner Sustainability Manager will require resolution to a specific timeline, managed through a CAPA (Corrective and Preventative Action) plan. Issues that fall under this management approach include: ensuring annual and parental leaves, public holidays; anti-bribery and corruption; discrimination, harassment and abuse; living conditions in dormatories; notice periods, dismissals and disciplinary actions.