Sustainability & Responsibility
Apr 22, 2024

IOM and VF Corporation Expand Partnership to Promote the Inclusion of Migrants

A Bangladeshi migrant worker inspecting finished products. Photo: IOM

After five years of joint efforts that have benefited over 7,000 migrant workers in VF Corporation’s supply chain, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and VF Corporation are embarking on their inaugural long-term global partnership.

This strategic partnership aims to collectively advance the rights and welfare of migrants and vulnerable groups working within VF Corporation's supply chains.

“This new three-year alliance capitalizes on the strengths and expertise of both entities, striving to ensure the respect for human and labour rights of migrants, and their access to regular labour migration pathways,” said Elizabeth Warn, the Global Head of Labour Mobility and Social Inclusion at IOM. “Such efforts seek to realize the transformative potential of migration as a potent force for sustainable development.”

In accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and fundamental human and labour rights treaties, IOM, led by its country office in Thailand, will collaborate with VF Corporation to fortify ethical recruitment practices, advocate for decent work, and facilitate access to effective remedies for migrant workers.

"At VF, we are committed to supporting migrant workers throughout our supply chain and have expanded our scope to understand the migrant worker journey outside of the factory walls,” said Maria Lassen, Senior Manager of Global Worker Rights at VF Corporation. “We have benefited greatly from working with the IOM and know that expanding our partnership to be more strategic will help advance this work and ultimately benefit workers in our supply chain across the globe.”

At its core, this initiative is grounded in the shared commitment of IOM and VF Corporation to enhance the lives of migrants, particularly the most vulnerable among them. Leveraging their global presence, efforts to mitigate human rights risks and foster ethical supply chains will extend worldwide, with close cooperation among suppliers, recruiters, civil society, policymakers, and other stakeholders.

IOM and VF Corporation first began working together in 2019, initially working to enhance and strengthen VF’s internal commitments and policies in support of migrant worker rights. IOM later supported VF’s Your Voice Matters pilot, lending their expertise to advise on the program creation and execution. Their work together ultimately resulted in the creation of VF Corporation's Roadmap for Responsible Recruitment and benefitted over 7,000 migrant workers. This expanded strategic partnership will be global in scope and hopes to continuously enhance the working and living conditions of migrant workers employed within VF Corporation's supply chain.

“Migrant workers make VF products every day. We must continue to ensure they are treated with dignity, especially with regard to their living and working conditions. VF knows this work is best achieved in partnership and is confident that working with IOM, our program – and thus the lives of the workers – will be improved,” said Ms Lassen.

"Building on the success of our collaboration in Thailand, we are thrilled to expand our partnership with VF Corporation on a global scale,” said Géraldine Ansart, IOM Chief of Mission in Thailand.

“By integrating migrant workers into ethical supply chains in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Compact for Migration, we create a framework for inclusive growth and social justice. Ensuring their rights and well-being not only enhances economic prosperity but also strengthens our collective commitment to human dignity.”

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