by Stephen Garner

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) announced on Monday that its board of directors voted to accredit the social compliance program of Burton, a Vermont-based, privately held, snowboarding, and mountain lifestyle company founded in 1977.

Accreditation by the FLA recognizes that Burton has systems in place to identify and remediate unfair labor practices in its global supply chain. Burton manufactures products in 72 contract factories in 10 countries and one owned prototyping facility in the United States.

“Burton practices what it preaches when it comes to fair labor, as we documented in our extensive multi-year examination of the company’s policies and practices,” said Sharon Waxman, president and CEO of FLA. “FLA accreditation is an important milestone for Burton, and we expect its actions to improve conditions for workers in factories from North America to Southeast Asia.”

“Protecting the people who build our products has been important to us from the beginning when our founder and my late husband Jake Burton was hand-shaping snowboards in his barn in Vermont in the late 70s,” added Donna Carpenter, chair of the Burton board. “Now, as a global brand, we remain committed to holding our suppliers to the highest standards for fair labor practices and the ethical treatment of their workers. It is especially critical during this time of COVID-19 and economic distress to continue to protect workers’ rights throughout the world. We are honored to earn FLA accreditation and will continue to dedicate ourselves to improving labor practices in our supply chain.”

FLA accreditation requires companies to meet standards and benchmarks that fully align with the International Labor Organization, UN Guiding Principles, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. As part of the process, companies agree to assessments of corporate systems for purchasing and sourcing and regular review of facilities in their global supply chain.

FLA accreditation is the gold standard for a systems-level approach to human rights compliance and social responsibility and includes a commitment to the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and continuous improvement efforts to address working conditions and protect workers’ rights.

A company’s accreditation signifies that it understands the consequences of its business practices on workplace conditions, has put effective systems in place to prevent workplace abuses and commits to remediating violations that occur. Accreditation provides a basis for socially responsible investors and consumers to make informed investing and purchasing choices.