Prevention against child labor is also a key measure when we evaluate new suppliers throughout our global
Addressing Child Labor in Soccer Ball Production
Each year, our Company purchases tens of thousands of handstitched promotional soccer balls to support high-profile sponsorships. The risk of child labor in soccer ball production is high. Children working at home are often employed to handstitch soccer ball panels together, creating an invisible workforce that is sometimes missed by formal workplace audits.
To combat this problem, we created a "Soccer Ball Pre-Certification System,"which includes a comprehensive supplier audit in addition to our standard audit to identify and pre-certify compliant suppliers. This system directs our procurement teams to only purchase soccer balls from pre-certified suppliers.
In 2007, we used this protocol to identify a compliant supplier in India, recognizing the potential risk of child labor in the region.*
* The United States Department of Labor estimates that as many as 30,000 children work in India's sporting goods industry.
Addressing Child Labor in Sugarcane Harvesting in El Salvador
Sugarcane is a critically important crop to El Salvador's economy, second only to coffee.* Some of the country's sugar is grown in rural farm cooperatives, which are co-owned and managed by local farmers. This system emerged out of the military junta government's agricultural reforms in the 1980s, which transferred a significant portion of land ownership to poor rural farmers. These cooperatives farm and harvest their sugarcane as a community, which can result in teenagers working as cane cutters or in young children working alongside their parents during the harvest.
Given the seriousness of this issue and because sugar is used in our products, we collaborated with ILO-IPEC in its work with the Salvadoran sugar industry, local Foundations, international NGOs and the government to address child labor. This has resulted in measurable reductions in the incidence of child labor in sugarcane harvesting.
* World Bank. Online at: http://devdata.worldbank.org/AAG/slv_aag.pdf
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