As VS&Co continues to foster strategic relationships with suppliers, we maintain our commitment to supplier education. For suppliers, factory management and associates who have direct responsibility for compliance and supply chain management, we host awareness and training events — called Supplier Communication Sessions — on all compliance standards.
Prior to 2020, all events were held in person in the key countries of sourcing but have been converted to virtual events two to three times a year. We are thrilled to report that beginning in 2023, we have resumed our in-person training event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The event included all core lingerie and apparel suppliers as well as our top accessory suppliers. Key topics included: gender-based violence and harassment awareness and expectations of suppliers to protect workers, encouragement of suppliers to participate in women’s and young adult empowerment programs, and traceability and transparency expectations to ensure our supplier partners mitigate risks of modern slavery in our supply chain.
We continuously engage in training and capacity building for suppliers on risks, policies and standards, particularly those associated with human trafficking and forced labor.
Consistent with our commitment to supplier education, all associates are annually required to review and acknowledge our Associate Code of Conduct. This Code, based on our values, defines behaviors that are acceptable and those that are not. All of our policies, whether in the Code of Conduct or not, in our standard operating procedures or from other sources in our business, are based on our values.
Each year IPS updates and publishes a Compliance Guidebook (Guidebook) and distributes it to all suppliers. The Guidebook is a collection of policies and standards that our suppliers are expected and legally obligated to comply with. The Supplier Code of Conduct and our full compliance program, including all standards we expect our factories to meet, are included in the Guidebook as well as contacts for our suppliers to engage if they have questions or need any assistance.
In 2023, the Guidebook updates included an enhanced gender-based violence and harassment section detailing expectations to our suppliers to prevent physical, psychological and verbal abuse to workers.
During our Training and Communication Sessions, various internal and external subject matter experts present on current key topics. This event provides a platform through which our suppliers can increase their understanding about critical issues and provides them with helpful tools and resources.
Training includes topics such as:
- Modern Slavery Awareness and Steps to Mitigate Modern Slavery Risks
- Gender Based Violence and Harassment Awareness
- Labor Survey Tools and Relationship Management
- Worker Engagement Programs using Technology
- Supply Chain Transparency and Traceability
- Emerging Forced Labor Legislation
- COVID-19 Impact & Preparedness
- Policy Updates
- Supplier Code of Conduct
- Industry Best Practices in Labor Recruitment
- Human Trafficking Risks and Prevention
- Grievance Mechanisms
We also use one‐on‐one trainings in conjunction with factory monitoring visits and corrective action plans to continuously educate our suppliers and factories on the prevention of modern slavery and reinforce our Supplier Code of Conduct.
Associates who influence decisions in VS&Co supply chain take a course called “ Modern Slavery Awareness” to ensure that they are aware of the risks of modern slavery in our supply chain, recognize the warning signs and know what tools are available to report any concerns of forced labor or human trafficking in the supply chain. The training was developed in alignment with the ILO Indicators of Forced Labour.
IPS meets with key stakeholders from the Production and Sourcing teams regularly to discuss supply chain risks and supplier and factory compliance as well as to remind them about our policies and standards related to modern slavery.
In addition to the training, the IPS team regularly attends industry events and trainings hosted by organizations such as Responsible Sourcing Network, Elevate Global Limited, The Mekong Club, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Responsible Minerals Initiative, Retail Industry Leaders Association, the American Apparel and Footwear Association and other associations to ensure that the team stays updated on new risks and industry best practices.