SAI & Eileen Fisher Coordinate Workshop with Suppliers in China

"Improving Your Company's Business & Social Fingerprint™"

November 11-12, 2010


During a group exercise, participants sketch their life journey to their current work, and their personal connection to the environment.

On November 11-12, 2010, SAI Lead Trainer Mike Lee worked in collaboration with apparel company, Eileen Fisher, to lead a training workshop, "Improving Your Company's Business & Social Fingerprint™" in Shenzhen, China.  37 participants, representing all seven of Eileen Fisher's supplier factories in China, as well as several of Eileen Fisher's Hong Kong sourcing agents, engaged in this workshop.

Day one focused on human rights, and the second day focused on the environment. As Eileen Fisher is a Signatory SAI Corporate Program member; SAI tailored the workshop curriculum for the first day to both give a thorough introduction to social compliance, as well as build on suppliers' experiences through group exercises.

Eileen Fisher's business culture was infused in the training: the meeting started off with a moment of silence to proceed with a fresh mind; core messages of Eileen Fisher business practices and culture--such as brand reshaping and support of women and girls-- were presented by Eileen Fisher's Director of Corporate Social Consciousness, Amy Hall, and Vice President of Manufacturing Susan Young. Ms. Hall and Ms. Lee also led several group exercises, including an overview on the importance of communication, citing relevant examples such as the recent events at the Foxconn and Honda factories in China.

Feedback indicated that the training fulfilled participants' expectations. Amy Hall noted, "Suppliers responded well to the blend of classroom lecture and western-style group activities.  We enjoyed seeing them relax and participate in a variety of interactive and creative projects."

An ongoing trend that all seven factories are experiencing is the shortage of workers to fill positions. Ms. Lee noted a palpable sense of concern from all seven suppliers about this rising labor shortage, with them noting they have increased wages by 20-30% in order to maintain competitiveness and retain key staff. Worker demands and benefits are taken into consideration, such as living stipends and/or free dormitory space. The suppliers indicated that after Chinese New Year, another wage increase will be instituted.

This labor shortage problem is especially prevalent in the Pearl River and Yangtze River Delta region of China, major export production areas. According to a recent survey by the Guangdong Province human resources department, there is a shortage of over 900,000 workers.

Click here to learn more about Eileen Fisher's relationship with its vendors, an interview with Ms. Hall from the November 2010 newsletter

For more information, please contact SAI Communications & Development Coordinator, Joleen Ong- JOng@sa-intl.org.

 

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Original article featured in SAI's December 2010 e-Newsletter