We are committed to selecting licensees who agree to produce products under fair, safe, and humane working conditions and who demonstrate management processes that enable them to achieve progress toward implementation of these standards throughout their supply chain.
A Bit of History
In 1998, the University of California became among the first universities in the country to adopt a code of conduct concerning fair labor standards and practices and made it applicable to all of its trademark licensees. The UC Trademark Licensing Code of Conduct (“UC Code”) requires supply chain transparency and disclosure and addresses standards to be met in the follow areas:
Wages and Benefits
Health & Safety
Harassment and Abuse
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
The UC Code not only articulates a list of standards, but captures the expectation for full implementation of these standards throughout supply chains used to produce any UC logoed products. To be relevant in our endeavors to address this important issue, and as a UCLA family of leaders, we must understand that such implementation is not an event but a journey of continuous improvement.
Not only do the challenges of ensuring ethical labor pertain to UCLA® licensed product supply chains, these same challenges impact the supply chains of every consumer product and component produced, mined, grown, harvested, and distributed anywhere around the world including in the United States. For example, search any media channel on the topic of “modern day slavery” to find infinite and compelling stories, including right here in Los Angeles. No brand, organization or individual is immune, including UCLA. What about those “help stop human trafficking” ad campaigns we all see? They are addressing all of us. This issue and other types of supply chain labor abuses are among the most prevalent and challenging issues of modern time. The issue is ripe for a dose of UCLA! What can UCLA do, what does it always do in the face of challenge? It finds a way…that doubt-defying state of mind empowers us and, if we lead, it will empower our strategic partners and licensees to propel progress on this issue in Los Angeles and around the world. We can, and must, lead the way.
Lighting the way...
Associated Students UCLA (ASUCLA), led by a student majority board of directors that provides leadership at a level synonymous with being a Bruin, established UCLA’s trademark licensing program in 1973, making UCLA the first university or college in the country to have a formal trademark licensing program. ASUCLA’s stewardship of the licensing program for one of the preeminent and most popular universities in the country and possibly the world has been and continues to be among the highest of ASUCLA board priorities. In a bold move, given the potential fiscal consequences, the ASUCLA board gave its support in 2010 to pilot a program that seeks to measure licensees’ levels of understanding, and the status of their management systems and processes, geared toward progressing implementation of international labor standards throughout their supply chains. ASUCLA, informed by these measurements, has since been empowered to choose an ever more select group of licensees and to continue positioning UCLA’s trademark licensing program as a leader in the industry. Key metrics measured include:
We seek to measure the degree to which a licensee is being open about its business practices and supply chain partners. We consider the degree of openness that a licensee demonstrates in its responses as well as information that it provides to the public. This is measured through the accuracy of its responses to surveys, verified through outside sources where possible, and with the public, via websites and consumer information that the licensee and in some cases, its suppliers provide.
We seek to measure the degree to which a licensee is managing the risk its supply chain poses in the area of workplace rights and conditions that the UC Code was designed to address. Supply chain identification, familiarity, knowledge, and selection process are among the factors measured.
We seek to measure the degree to which a licensee is taking steps to apply the standards found in the UC Code to its supply chain and to employ action steps designed to educate, identify, and mitigate supply chain non-compliances with these standards. This includes whether the licensee has a code of its own that meets or exceeds the international labor standards embodied in the UC Code. Measurement also covers whether a licensee has developed business systems and processes through which international labor standards are implemented within its own manufacturing facilities, if any, and those of its supply chain. These systems and processes include relevant, credible training, whether the licensee positions its code as required or voluntary for suppliers, grievance mechanisms and their scope, and monitoring and remediation activities.
A licensee’s actions in response to identified non-compliances in their supply chain are a key indicator of their understanding and degree of alignment with UCLA standards and expectations. “Running away” is the antithesis of the UCLA mission to “light the way”. We expect UCLA licensees to engage fully in addressing non-compliances identified in their supply chains. We foster this not by “blaming and shaming” but instead encourage licensees toward excellence and then award future license renewal agreements accordingly.
We seek to measure the degree to which a licensee’s procurement processes support and reinforce the attainment of international labor standards throughout its own manufacturing facilities and those of its suppliers. This includes the degree of alignment between the procurement criteria and processes the licensee represents that it follows and the workplace standards found in university codes. Planning, forecasting, training, length of supplier relationships, and reward systems for internal and contracted supply chain partners all contribute to this measurement.
UCLA licensees/prospective licensees who use supplier factories located in Bangladesh are obligated to become signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (“Accord”) and/or the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (“Alliance”).
Fair Labor Association (FLA):
UCLA (and the University of California system as a whole) is a member of the Fair Labor Association and requires all UCLA licensees to affiliate as well. The FLA is a collaborative effort of companies, colleges and universities, and civil society organizations, seeking to create lasting solutions to abusive labor practices.
Worker Rights Consortium (WRC):
UCLA and the University of California system as a whole is a member of the Worker Rights Consortium. The WRC is an independent labor rights monitoring organization, conducting investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe.