What are recommended approaches for handling factory disclosure data, particularly where apparel orders are managed by or through an association or consortium?
Each affiliate university is responsible for (1) ensuring that vendors disclose the names and locations of factories that produce apparel goods sold to the university or student union and (2) including a manufacturing code of conduct in contracts with vendors. In taking these steps, each university is free to work with any other entity or association. In the United States, most universities coordinate the disclosure process through one of two organizations (the Collegiate Licensing Company and the Licensing Resource Group) which assist universities in brokering licensing relationships with apparel companies. These organizations gather disclosure data on behalf of their member universities and provide this information to the WRC. This approach eliminates substantial redundancy where numerous universities have relationships with the same apparel companies.
In the UK, opportunities exist for similar kinds of coordination. In the case of U.K. student unions, the WRC understands that purchases are generally handled at a centralized level via NUS Services Limited (NUSSL) with a relatively small number of suppliers serving most unions, and that NUSSL already requires suppliers to disclose factory locations and to commit to compliance with a code of conduct. For this reason, it may be sensible to coordinate code of conduct and disclosure data gathering activities with NUSSL. Similarly, in the case of university administrations, it may be sensible to coordinate the gathering of disclosure data at the level of regional university procurement consortia. Such arrangements would need to be made by participating student unions and university administrations.