Just as a consumer has choices, at Forever 21 we take our business choices seriously, including the way we obtain the products we sell. We strive to have a positive impact not only within our stores and corporate family, but also upon the environment and on the hundreds of vendor manufacturing facilities throughout the world and their employees.
We see these choices as part of a work in progress as we constantly strive to improve in each of these areas.
I. Protecting the Environment:
- Forever 21’s provides 100% recyclable and reusable plastic and paper bags in many of its stores
- We will continue to transport products via sea versus airfreight in order to help reduce carbon emissions
- New Forever 21 stores include energy efficient lighting systems to vastly cut down on energy usage
- Shipment boxes are recycled daily at our distribution center and in stores
- Forever 21 is currently developing apparel collections using environmentally friendly materials
II. Worker Rights & Protection
Forever 21 insists that all product suppliers ensure that their employees work in safe and healthy environments and that their legal rights are respected and protected. Forever 21 also shares the goal of eliminating child labor and forced labor.
Vendor Audit Program: To meet these goals, all Forever 21 suppliers must agree to its Social Responsibility Code of Conduct. In addition, our Corporate Social Responsibility program includes the Forever 21 Vendor Audit Program. While many of our vendors have worked with Forever 21 for a number of years and are trusted, all suppliers and vendors must provide factory contact information and all factories must participate in the audit program.
Important Elements of this Program:
- Forever 21 enters into a comprehensive agreement with each of our vendors and their factories under which they promise to utilize legally qualified workers, pay them wages which are fair and legal in their jurisdiction, and provide an environment that complies with their legal requirements. Our agreement also covers issues of time off, free association and movement rights, nondiscrimination, environmental protection and security. Our agreement expressly prohibits human trafficking and the use of forced, slave, child or prison labor, or labor from closed or freedom-restricting countries.
- These Vendor Compliance Standards were developed to comply with industry standards, local labor laws, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Core Conventions.
- We use highly trained factory auditors to enforce our strict social standards and requirements. The auditors accomplish this enforcement by conducting inspections of our active non-US Vendor manufacturing facilities on a random basis to ensure the Social Vendor Compliance Standards are understood, respected and followed.
- After each factory visit, auditors prepare a written evaluation of the factory, including any action items which may need correction prior to the next visit. We also do our best to provide ongoing information, advice, and support on fair labor, health and safety, and related issues.
- Our goal is to work with the Vendors and their factories to help them improve and ensure consistent compliance.
We believe this process assists in guarding against potential unsafe conditions, workplace injuries or mistreatment and discrimination, and also results in an overall improvement in our Vendors’ factory efficiency and product quality standards.
Forever 21's suppliers are required that our Vendor's manufacturing facilities with which we do business adhere to safety and human rights standards.
Forever 21 does not manufacture any of its own merchandise. Forever 21 instead purchases goods from vendors who are required to follow our policies and procedures which expressly prohibit the use of forced, slave, child, or prison labor, or labor from closed or freedom-restricted countries (i.e., the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“North Korea”), to manufacture the clothing, footwear, and accessories we sell. We have a rigorous vetting process when we first start business with new vendors. We also require all of our vendors to sign our Vendor Agreement (the Vendor Agreement Relating to Compliance with Labor and Employment Laws (VARCLEL)). By agreeing to the terms of the Vendor Agreement, suppliers confirm, among other things, that they will expressly:
- Not discriminate on the basis of national origin, race, sex, marital status, religion, age, disability, medical condition, veteran status and sexual orientation in any employment action relating to their workforce;
- Not employ or utilize forced, slave, child or prison labor, or labor from closed or freedom-restricted countries;
- Comply with all local wage and work hour laws – including paying at least the minimum wage, paying for overtime, etc.;
- Provide a safe workplace and work environment;
- Provide a clean and habitable workspace;
- Maintain adequate insurance (workers' compensation, disability, etc.); and
- Not subcontract any work to other facilities.
III. Ethical Sourcing:
Fur-Free Policy: Forever 21 established a permanent fur-free policy in 2004. We have worked with PETA to meet guidelines to avoid cruelty to animals and continue to look for ways to improve.
Ban on Angora: Forever 21 established a permanent ban on Angora (rabbit hair) in 2014. We have worked with PETA to meet guidelines to avoid cruelty to animals and continue to look for ways to improve.
No Mohair: The company instituted a permanent ban on mohair effective January 1, 2020 as a result of reports that goat farmers in South Africa, where a significant percentage of mohair comes from, injure or abuse the goats.
The Cotton Pledge: Forever 21 is fully aligned with the spirit and purpose of Responsible Sourcing Network’s Cotton Pledge. Forever 21 signed the Cotton Pledge effective October 7, 2016. Forever 21’s commitment to this issue is not new. Since 2013, Forever 21 has worked to ensure that none of its third-party vendors knowingly obtain their supply of cotton from Uzbekistan.
IV. Charity Programs
At Forever 21, one of our core values is to encourage giving and to lend a helping hand to those who need it most. We are always finding ways to help our local communities and partner with charities of every scale. Over the years, we have carried product that has helped different organizations, such as Give to Love, Love to Give. We have also developed collaborative products with proceeds benefiting charitable organizations. A current exciting project is with Project Level to develop a collaborative line of products. Project Level is an amazing non-profit organization which nurtures the creative needs of at-risk and underserved inner-city youth in the San Francisco Bay area. When we partner with an organization on a specific collection, a portion of the proceeds is donated to the designated charity.
We continue to support Boys & Girls Clubs and Girls Inc. with significant donations. At home, Forever 21 is an avid and consistent supporter of the local community near its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles. For example, the company had funded college scholarships and supported summer camp opportunities for local youth in the neighborhood and continues to support the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck PAL Program.
California Transparency in Supply Chains Act:
Forever 21 is committed to conducting business in an ethical manner and we expect our suppliers to share this same commitment. To this end, Forever 21 has a global ethical program in place to prevent abusive, exploitive or illegal conditions in the workplace and prevent human trafficking and slavery. All suppliers are required to participate in the program as a condition of doing business with our company.
- We regularly evaluate and address human trafficking and slavery risks in product supply chains through in-house inspectors who are tasked with investigating internal or third-party reports of this nature.
- We conduct audits of our suppliers through in-house and third-party inspectors who evaluate compliance with company standards for trafficking and slavery, using both announced and unannounced audits.
- In the United States, we work cooperatively with the Department of Labor on suppliers’ compliance with wage and hours laws.
- We require our direct suppliers to certify that materials incorporated into products they supply to Forever 21 comply with laws and company standards regarding slavery and human trafficking.
- We maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for employees and contractors who fail to meet company standards regarding slavery and human trafficking.
- We provide training to specific employees and management on detecting and enforcing procedures against slavery and human trafficking.