W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. including its subsidiaries (Gore) is a uniquely creative, technology-driven Enterprise focused on discovery and product innovation. Gore has served a variety of global markets for 60 years and has thrived by providing its customers with high-value products that enhance the quality of life. Associates take great pride in being part of a strong global Enterprise and in the broad contributions we make to society. This document provides information regarding W. L. Gore & Associates’ business practices and how we address issues of forced labor as required under the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 and the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015.
At Gore, we are collectively committed to fostering a safe and healthy work environment where diverse teams of Associates collaborate to drive innovation, high performance, and responsibly direct their activities to achieve exceptional business results. As such, we fully support efforts to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking. Everyone in our Enterprise is expected to demonstrate integrity in all relationships when dealing with suppliers, customers, and stakeholders, as well as with other Gore Associates.
Gore's purchasing terms require that all suppliers comply with all laws and regulations applicable to their business, including those associated with modern slavery. Gore does not pursue independent verification in regions where the strength of legal standards indicates the absence of issues related to forced labor or human trafficking. In high risk areas, however, Gore has introduced further measures to protect workers and ensure transparency.
To highlight the importance of social responsibility, all Procurement Associates receive training on human trafficking and forced labor subject matter. The goal of the training is to proactively expose Associates to the signs of forced labor to increase the likelihood that it will be identified quickly and to provide guidance on the steps that Associates should take to ensure our suppliers do not engage in, contribute to, or tolerate forced labor.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” notes that garments, textiles and footwear are at risk sectors. Gore has addressed this risk by adopting Gore Guidelines on Social Responsibility (GSR). These guidelines set forth our expectations regarding fair labor requirements, healthy and safe working environments, compliance with legal and environmental regulations, and other topics, including prohibition of forced labor and child labor. Gore expects its suppliers, business partners, distributors, and any other representatives to maintain this same level of social responsibility. Gore’s Associates’ Standards of Ethical Conduct also includes important guidelines for all Associate interactions with suppliers, customers, other external stakeholders, and each other.
Most finished apparel and footwear products made with Gore fabrics are placed on the market by our customers, many of which have programs in place to address forced labor and human trafficking. Gore assists these customers with due diligence over their manufacturing facilities to prevent any zero-tolerance issues.
Gore is a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which developed the Higg Index to drive transparency of fair labor conditions within the value chain. Gore Fabrics is an active user of the Higg Index for assessing and sharing sustainability performance of our manufacturing units. In 2018, the Higg Index rolled out the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), a comprehensive tool designed to assess labor practices, including forced and child labor. In 2019, Gore Fabrics received the first independent verification by a certified third-party auditing company of our own manufacturing facility in China using this new tool. The results are available on the Higg Portal for our customers to review. FSLM verification audits will be conducted in other Gore Fabrics manufacturing facilities and the results will be shared with our business partners. We encourage our suppliers and business partners to use the Higg Index to assess their performance on fair working conditions.
Our GORE® Wear business has been affiliated with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) since 2012, adopting that organization’s Code of Conduct for social compliance in garment manufacture. This requires that GORE® Wear’s supplier facilities conduct business in alignment with the FLA Code of Conduct, which is monitored through third party audits, and a confidential reporting channel is established by GORE® Wear for complaints of non-compliance with the Code. Additionally, independent social audit spot checks are performed by the FLA with results made public on the organization’s website. In 2017, GORE® Wear earned FLA accreditation, the organization’s highest recognition for socially responsible sourcing. In September 2019, Sitka® Wear, another vertical business brand of Gore, also joined the FLA. Also in 2019, in an effort to combat forced labor, GORE® Wear joined the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and FLA's Industry Commitment to Responsible Recruitment which calls on brands to uphold certain standards when employing foreign migrant employees and to publicly report on their efforts. GORE® Wear reports to AAFA & FLA on the steps we are taking to implement the pledge. In 2020, in order to enhance transparency and accountability on our sourcing practices, GORE® Wear publicly disclosed the list of our Tier 1 supplier facilities.
Since 2014, Gore Fabrics has been reporting on its various sustainability initiatives in the form of annual Responsibility Updates.
Gore strives to be fair to everyone with whom we do business. We value fair labor practices; we continue to review our Enterprise operations for risks of modern slavery and human trafficking and commit to mitigating those risks wherever we find them.
President and CEO
20 September 2020