Fair Wear Foundation

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Fair Wear Foundation
FWF Logo.png
TypeNon-profit organization
PurposeWorking to create a garment industry that is fair for everyone. Support member brands in human rights due diligence, provide verification and auditing of member brands, offer training, tools for compliance and tools for remediation
Key people
Alexander Kohnstamm, Executive Director

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent multistakeholder organisation that works with garment brands, garment workers and industry influencers to improve labour conditions in garment factories. FWF wants to create a world where fashion is fair for everyone.

Garment Brands[edit]

FWF collaborates with brands that are determined to find a fairer way to make their clothes. FWF has over 80 member companies representing over 130 garment brands from 10 European countries.[1] When a member brand joins FWF, it is committed to implement the eight FWF labour standards in their supply chain.[2]

FWF work is based on a ‘shared responsibility' approach. Namely, each actor in the supply chain of a certain product is responsible for the conditions in which the product is made.[3] Management decisions of a brand selling clothes in Europe have a huge influence on factory conditions. The two cannot be separated.  

FWF Labour Standards[edit]

The FWF Code of Labour Practices contains eight labour standards that are based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.[4] The Fair Wear Code is known for its strong provisions on freedom of association, hours of work, and a living wage.

FWF's eight Code of Labour Practices are:

  • Employment is freely chosen
  • There is no discrimination in employment
  • No exploitation of child labour
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  • Payment of a living wage
  • No excessive working hours
  • Safe and healthy working conditions
  • Legally binding employment relationship

Production Countries[edit]

FWF is active in in 11 production countries: Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Macedonia, Romania, Tunisia, Turkey and Vietnam.[5] In all countries, FWF has local audit teams and trainers who are in close contact with the Amsterdam headquarters office.

FWF also constantly liaises with many different and in-country organisations, such as trade unions, other NGOs, and governments.

Tools to Create Change[edit]

FWF creates change by performing Brand Performance Checks, audits, trainings, and with complaints helplines in 11 countries. ​

Brand Performance Checks[edit]

The FWF Brand Performance Checks help brands determine what they are doing well and where they can improve to create positive change.[6] FWF openly shares the results with the public.[7]


During an FWF audit, a worker interviewer, a documents inspector and a health and safety specialist are the keys to discovering underlying problems. The team is always made up by local specialists. After the audit, the team discusses steps for improvement with the member brand and factory management. The members brand and factory management then create a concrete action plan with a clear time frame for execution.[8]

Workplace Education Programs[edit]

To support brands and factories in fulfilling their basic responsibility to inform workers and management about their rights and access to grievance systems, FWF has designed several trainings for different countries.[9]

Complaint Helplines[edit]

FWF offers complaints helplines in 11 garment producing countries. When a garment worker lodges a complaint, FWF launches an investigation and requires the brand to work with the supplier to remediate the problem.[10]


FWF also creates change beyond its member brands’ supply chains. FWF works with a range of stakeholders and other organisations in order to develop sustainable systems for good workplace conditions. FWF works on enabling an influencing environment for multiple actors: governments, international organisations, UN bodies, and stakeholders. FWF provides evidence to other brands and industry influencers of what a fairer garment industry could look like.

FWF brings different players together at every level – from boardroom decisions to workplace assessments – so that brands, business associations, trade unions, governments and NGOs all have a voice.  


FWF was founded in 1999. Just as in other countries, garment production in the Netherlands had, by then, been displaced to low-wage countries. After some years of campaigning against poor labour conditions in low-wage countries, the union FNV and the CCC contacted the employers organisations and proposed a joint initiative to improve labour condition in the garment sector.

In the period 1999–2002, FWF carried out pilot projects on the implementation of the Code of Labour Practices with four Dutch companies. These experiences led to the determination of a standard procedure.

Building up membership among companies was the next step. The first group of 11 members was announced to the public in March 2003.

In 2019, FWF employs over 50 employees located in Amsterdam and in-country staff.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brands". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  2. ^ "Labour Standards". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  3. ^ Fair Wear Foundation (2016-06-07), Shared responsibility, retrieved 2019-06-18
  4. ^ "ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (DECLARATION)". www.ilo.org. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  5. ^ "Countries". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  6. ^ "FWF Brand Performance Check guide 2018". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  7. ^ "Resources". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  8. ^ "FWF Factory Guide".
  9. ^ "Workplace Education Programme 2018". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  10. ^ "Complaints handling". Fair Wear Foundation. Retrieved 2019-06-18.

External links[edit]