The Skreened Blog


On Our Anvil Sustainable Tees
August 3, 2010, 10:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

IMPRESSIVE ALREADY
We’ve been impressed with the continued steps Anvil has taken in the realms of Social Responsibility. Recently we learned that in addition to sourcing transitional cotton and recycled Post-consumer P.E.T. for their cotton / poly blend sustainable tees, they have gone a step further in their commitment to sustainability.

CARBON OFFSETS
Anvil has now secured carbon offsets via carbonfund.org. While there is some debate about whether carbon offsets are the BEST way to reduce your carbon footprint, we feel that it’s an important discussion to have.  Which is why we’re bringing it up here :)  .

EVEN MORE
Given our commitment to responsibly sourced apparel, Anvil as a company endured our due diligence process and difficult questions about their manufacturing practices and conditions before we felt comfortable offering them as an option on Skreened.com.

BEING A RESPONSIBLE CONSUMER
Everyone in entitled to their own set of criteria when it comes to what they will buy and from whom. Some love to buy local, some buy organic, some vegan, while still others consider price and aesthetics or availability when making purchases.

We would like everyone who comes across Skreened to be encouraged to take a thoughtful look at the whole cost to our earth and society when we make a purchase.

For many of us, there is no perfect choice all of the time. But by being aware of the hidden factors surrounding the purchases we make, we can become more conscientious in our quest to build a more sustainable society.

AND NOW, A SLIDESHOW

Video Slideshow about where some of the cotton for the Sustainable Edition Tee is grown.

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11 Comments

The text should read “Video Slideshow” of where a portion of the cotton for the Sustainable Edition Tee is grown.” According to the video, only an unspecified portion of the cotton for the AnvilSustainable Edition Tee is grown in West Texas.

Comment by Jim

Hi there. All of the transitional cotton for the AnvilSustainable(tm) tee comes from Texas – at least so far! We’ve used it all up. Thanks for supporting this tee!
Caterina from Anvil

Comment by Caterina

Daniel et al, could you share with the rest of us the “hard questions” you posed and the answers you got?

Comment by Jim

Hi, Jim!

Thanks for your comments! While we can’t get into the details here, you are welcome to contact Anvil Knitwear and ask them the questions you find important in making your own responsible choices:

ANVIL KNITWEAR INC.

228 East 45th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10017
USA

(800)223-0332 Toll-free
(212)476-0300 Local
(212)476-0323 Fax

csr@anvilknitwear.com

Thanks again,
Alissa and the Skreened Team

Comment by Alissa

Hi Alissa!

What’s the reason you can’t get into that here? Is it because of a non-disclosure agreement or similar confidentiality agreement which is binding upon you, or for another reason?

Even if there’s a non-disclosure agreement or similar confidentiality agreement that is binding upon you regarding the answers, there shouldn’t be any legal restriction upon you to reveal the “difficult questions” you asked of Anvil. Could you share those, please?

Thank you for those phone numbers. I will be sure to call Anvil in the morning and ask them for disclosure of documentation regarding certification of working conditions including labor standards at the factories where these Anvil shirts are made. Those are the “difficult questions” I have in mind. I will be sure to share here the answers I receive from Anvil management, as a way of providing Skreened shopkeepers with the knowledge they need to make a full ethical decision within their own parameters.

Comment by Jim

Hi everyone. We show all of our certifications on anvilcsr.com and on trackmyt.com. It’s all public. All of our textile and cut and sew factories are WRAP certified. No confi’s required.
Caterina at Anvil

Comment by Caterina

Caterina,

Thanks for being willing to engage in public conversation on this.

1. The only certification I can see for the Anvil SustainableTee on the anvilcsr.com page is a half-page pdf of an OEKO-TEX certification: http://www.anvilknitwear.com/content/download/45234/732547/file/Style450_09.HUS.73096.pdf — and that appears to only be a certification regarding the use of poisonous chemicals. I don’t see any certification of the country of manufacture, of the working conditions at factories, of the pay and benefits received by workers who make the shirt. Could you post these certifications? The only other page I could find with Anvil CSR (corporate and social responsibility information) is a page reading “The Anvil CSR Report is coming soon! Please bookmark this page and check back soon.” Google doesn’t appear to index the anvilcsr.com website fully. Could you help by providing a link to the particular page on which all certifications the Anvil Sustainable Tee has received are made available for public review? Thanks.

2. Trackmyt.com is a charming interactive website, but in order to get any information on shirts a person must have on hand a lot number for a particular t-shirt. Could you post a lot number for an Anvil Sustainable Tee so that I could take a look and see whether the types of information I’m interested in are available? Thanks.

3. WRAP certification is a controversial certification standard by which individual factories self-audit themselves, then pay a person to follow up on that audit. On top of that, reports are kept confidential. Check out wrapcompliance.org on this point. Would you be willing to share links to pdfs of the reports for the factories at which the Anvil Sustainable Tee is made?

I certainly hope no confi’s are required in this regard and look forward to reviewing this information soon. Thanks for gathering that info, Caterina.

Comment by Jim

Sorry — a quick follow-up. I did finally find a link at anvilcsr.com for “conformity certificates,” which heads to:

http://65.242.126.36/akcpsc/com.anvilknitwear.akcpsc.ViewCpsc/ViewCpsc.html

but in order to get any information out of it, you have to have a lot number or case number. Caterina, could you provide me with a lot number or case number which would allow me to view ALL certifications the Anvil Sustainable Tee has received?

Thanks again.

Comment by Jim

A follow-up:

* Corporate offices for ANVIL were closed over the weekend, so they understandably didn’t return my call during that time.

* A call to ANVIL corporate this morning put me in contact with a representative who shared the following information:

1. The “Track My T” website only shares information on “Youth Brands” not “Adult Brands.” The representative indicated that the AnvilSustainable Tee is an “Adult Brand” and therefore cannot be tracked at trackmyt.com.

2. The AnvilSustainable Tee is made at one factory in Honduras.

3. The representative was unable to provide me with a sample lot number for an AnvilSustainable Tee. However, she will look into it and get back to me with a sample lot number by phone or e-mail. Further, she explained that the “Conformity Certificates” section of the anvilcsr.com website will only provide Consumer Product Safety Commission conformity information (for example, on lead content) and not certifications on working conditions at the original facility in Honduras.

4. The Anvil representative confirmed to me that the facility in Honduras at which the AnvilSustainable Tee is produced is WRAP certified (and possibly WRAP-E certified, indicating further environmental standards). She committed to sending me a copy of any WRAP certifications by e-mail.

5. A WRAP-certified factory’s self-audit and the consequent factory-hired auditor’s follow-up audit are by default kept confidential so that the public cannot gain access to information about the working conditions in a factory. I asked the Anvil representative whether she could provide copies of these audit reports. She said she wasn’t sure, but would indicate to me by e-mail whether such information would be made available.

I will share whatever information about the AnvilSustainable Tee I can get here. I’ll also share the extent to which information about the AnvilSustainable Tee is made unavailable.

Comment by Jim

A further follow-up after a helpful e-mail from Chelsea Eadicicco, Executive Assistant to the CEO of Anvil Knitwear.

1. Ms. Eadicicco provided a case number, C6303601, that allows a person to look at the “conformity certificates” provided via the link I described two comments above. I encourage you to take a look. As I suspected, the “conformity certificate” for the AnvilSustainable Tee establishes only that the product is certified with regard to the lead content and flammability of its fabric.

2. The WRAP certificate (not available online) was also provided to me by Ms. Eadicicco as a one-page pdf. It is literally a certificate that you can read for yourself here:

http://irregulartimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/WRAP-2010-for-STAR.pdf

The certificate establishes WRAP certification at Level B of compliance for the Anvil factory at Zip El Porvenir, Kilometer 7 Carreterra Salida A Tela, El Progresso, Yoro, Honduras. The factory is known as Star SA. Level B compliance, as described here, implies that the factory has recently been out of compliance or has only recently sought compliance.

3. The basis for the certification — the self-audit by the Star factory and a follow-up audit by the auditor — is not public. After I asked Anvil whether it would make those audits public, Ms. Eadicicco declined, reiterating “that information is not made public.”

Because Anvil will not make the audits of that factory public, because the Star SA factory has not attained A Level WRAP compliance (despite being operated by Anvil for a number of years), it is NOT currently demonstrable to the public that the Star SA factory where AnvilSustainable Tees are made has good working conditions and good compensation for its workers.

With this in mind, I encourage readers to search for news articles regarding the Star SA Anvil factory in Honduras and exercise their own diligent research before deciding what to think about production at the factory. I am currently engaged in the same, and I’ll let you know what I find.

4. Skreened folks, now would be a really good time for you to let us know what “our due diligence process” was and what the “difficult questions” you asked were. What additional information do they provide regarding the working conditions and compensation at the Star SA factory in Honduras where the AnvilSustainable Tee is made?

Comment by Jim

A few comments from Anvil to clarify:
The AnvilSustainable™ tee is Oeko-Tex certified. The certificate is available on anvilknitwear.com, under the product description for Style 450 (link: http://www.anvilknitwear.com/Product-Catalogs/What-s-New/450 ). This tests the product against 100 harmful chemicals. The factories that make the AnvilSustainable™ t-shirt are all WRAP certified. Those certificates are available on anvilcsr.com under “Company”, “Factory Certifications” (http://anvilknitwearcsr.com/company.html. All of our certifications are available under our trackmyt.com website – these are the same factories that manufacture the AnvilSustainable™ t-shirt.
Star, an Anvil factory, has been WRAP certified since September 2006. The current report shows no issues of noncompliance. If anyone wishes to see the latest report, they can email us at csr@anvilknitwear.com and can view it since I do not have the ability to post it here. The factory is also regularly visited by third party auditors on behalf of our larger customers. We show videos of the factory on anvilknitwear.com. It is a unionized factory and workers operate under a collective bargaining agreement. In addition to third party audits, our own internal social compliance auditors audit the factory monthly.
WRAP application levels are merely application levels and are not indicative of non-compliance. We have elected to apply on an annual basis which ensures an annual audit.
On September 1st, Anvil will be releasing its first CSR Report under the disclosure framework of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). You will find much more detailed information about our environmental, social and product information. I encourage everyone to check that out.
If there are any specific questions, feel free to reach us at csr@anvilknitwear.com.

Comment by Anvil




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