Outdoor Industry Association has adopted a supplier code of conduct as developed by the organization’s Fair Labor Working Group. In addition, OIA released a Fair Labor Toolkit at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. The Fair Labor Toolkit presents a code of conduct and a variety of strategies for monitoring labor standards compliance that can be adapted to suit nearly any company in the outdoor industry. The information and tools provide a mechanism for companies to understand where there are labor compliance violations in their supply chain so they can work to eliminate them.

The toolkit was developed by the Fair Labor Working Group, comprised of individuals from Outdoor Industry Association member companies who have worked for the past two years to create a code of conduct for operating supply chains responsibly, safely, and respectfully.

Providing the toolkit is only the beginning. Later this spring, the Fair Labor Working Group will sponsor a training session where industry companies can receive hands-on training on conducting factory audits. The Working Group is not training auditors; however, they are providing staff who visit factories as part of their regular responsibilities with the training they need to recognize and correct labor compliance issues.

OIA also announced the first round of recipients for the inaugural 2006 Outdoor Industry Ambassador Award and Outdoor Industry Innovator Award, as nominated by the outdoor industry and then selected by OIA’s Board of Directors. The Outdoor Industry Ambassador Award recognizes a company who has made significant and sustainable achievements toward the growth of participation in outdoor activities. The Outdoor Industry Innovator Award recognizes an individual from a retailer, manufacturer, supplier or media who has made significant contributions toward the continued innovation and growth of the outdoor industry.

The Outdoor Industry Ambassador Awards went to Backpacker Magazine and River Sports Outfitters, a single store operated in Knoxville, Tennessee and founded in 1982 by Ed McAlister. The Outdoor Industry Innovator Award was given to Gary Erickson, owner and founder of Clif Bar. Gary authored the book Raising the Bar, which explores how companies can operate and grow profitably based on sustainable practices, similar to the business model he created for Clif Bar.