Our Current Stories On Protecting Human Rights

Social Responsibility In Manufacturing

Designing Responsibly Around The Globe

Designing Responsibly Around The Globe
Nordstrom, along with the retail industry, sources products from around the world, and this means we encounter a wide range of global challenges. Many of these challenges—such as forced labor and health and safety issues—are cause for very real concern for all retailers.

To address these concerns, we created the Nordstrom Social Responsibility team in 1994. This team works closely with our Nordstrom Product Group (NPG) manufacturers and vendors to ensure that Nordstrom-label products are made in accordance with all applicable laws and ethical labor practices.

"We take a continuous-improvement approach to resolving labor differences," said Mark Tritton, president of Nordstrom Product Group. "The process begins with an extensive audit of suppliers to identify potential labor and safety issues. From these findings, we create a corrective action plan to address issues quickly, firmly and fairly."

Early on, our Social Responsibility team created the Nordstrom Partnership Guidelines. We shared these guidelines with our manufacturers and had them translated into multiple languages. We asked our manufacturing partners to post the guidelines on their factory walls.

The Social Responsibility team then began monitoring production facilities contracted to manufacture our goods. The audits, conducted by independent, third-party sources, examined physical surroundings, compensation and work-hour documentation, and included input from workers and management.

The auditors we work with prepare thorough reports and send them to the Nordstrom Social Responsibility team. Our team reviews the findings, and our program managers—along with the manufacturers and factories—take steps to address any issues and create remediation plans.

"Often we will bring in third-party consultants from a manufacturer's home country," explained Laura Hodgson, Director of Social Responsibility, Nordstrom Product Group. "We may need someone with a specialized skill set, such as an engineering background, as well as a person familiar with the local language and customs, to sit down with the factory and dig deep into the specific situation."

We also conduct and sponsor workshops to educate workers on their legal rights and health and safety issues.

Along with taking an active role in the labor and human rights and health and safety of factory workers, we are solidly committed to global responsibility. Some recent efforts include our work with Business for Social Responsibility and our participation in the HERproject (Health Enables Returns), which is a program that educates factory workers on general and reproductive health with a focus on HIV/AIDS prevention in China. We also partner with the Textile Exchange (formerly Organic Exchange) to help farmers in Uganda produce organic cotton. Learn more about these programs.

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