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Initiative for compliance with social standards in production countries "social-fair"


Allowing for its social responsibility, the companies participating the VFI-initiative "social fair" support the requirement to help the people in these countries to create or improve a social and therefore humane environment. 

Position of the VFI

The members of the "Verband der Fertigwarenimporteure", their affiliated companies and other companies affiliated to the VFI-initiative "social-fair" know from their own experience that the social circumstances of companies in the developing countries they visited are not always satisfying. They support the requirement to support these people to create or improvae the social and therefore humane environment without any reservation.

The participants know about the manifold efforts and even about the even continuing demand for further reforms in this are. In fact the participants do not agree on all ideas to this topic as some are too theretical or maybe just idealistic. But they share the opinion that the working conditions in the companies of their suppliers and their affiliated companies in the countries of origin where they buy or let produce (from now on called suppliers) fundamentally should reflect the generally accepted human rights. The suppliers demand that owner and management boards of these companies guarantee to keep the mandatory conditions of "social-fair" by signing of contracts or similar business documents.
The VFI is not of the opinion that these goals can only be achieved by certification of the suppliers but also by contractual agreements between the participants and the suppliers in the country of origin which is the methodic of commitment of the involved business partners. Therefore the participants confirm to share the conditions of "social-fair" in all contracts and also business initiating inquiries, offers and similar to the supplier, to demand an appropriate adoption and to request their acceptance as a precondition to realise any business.
The participant, by themselves or by the VFI, arrange for random inspections by controlling companies named by the VFI to check for a flawless realisation of these commitments. It should be noted that neither a self administrating, cost intensive controlling organisation will be built nor that one is working with an institutionalised organisation nor that it requires an unnecessary financial effort from the supplier. Therefore neither a licensing is requested nor any other organisational administration control will be set up. Instead the VFI will order inspectors to check the keeping of contractual agreements between the participants and the contrac partner in the country of origin in case of any substancial doubt of keeping the social standard on demand and at expense of the participant.
The commitment of the import business to create and keep working conditions that as a matter of principal satisfy the generally accepted human right resulting of the cooperation between participants, suppliers, inspectors and the VFI is based on the national law and the according statutory provisions in the respective country of origin. Corresponding to the liberal contract design between companies, the control of this voluntary commitment to keep the human rights in line with the national laws is als organised single-handedly and on one's own authority. Towards third parties it is at the utmost subject to reporting requirements.

The VFI social standard "sozial-fair" includes six essential aspects and is mandatory:

  • Child labour is only permitted within the framework of national rules
  • Forced labour is prohibited
  • Minimum standards for health and safety at the work place are to be guaranteed
  • Liberty to unite ought to be granted
  • Weekly hours to be worked and overtime and compensation therefore are to be based on legal or negotiated standards
  • Company owners and directors confirm and document compliance with the above standards within their own companies and suppliers and will submit such documentation upon request to VFI-nominated inspection companies. Such documentation is also to be presented individually and contract-based to VFI member-companies

For more information please check the VFI website