[4 May/Stuff]

Icebreaker was recently sold to VF Corporation, owner of a range of brands including Timberland, North Face and Wrangler, and in its consideration of the transaction the Overseas Investment Office explored allegations in relation to the company’s poor history around worker conditions, including evidence of mistreatment of workers in Asian factories over the past three years. VF Corp work with around 1,000 suppliers internationally and said that it worked hard to make certain working conditions were in accordance with local laws and regulations. In a ranking based on human rights policies, traceability and transparency, whether supplier factories were audited and worker empowerment, Icebreaker achieved an A+ ranking, whereas VF Corp only achieved a B. The OIO is required to consider all allegations of offending and whether or not it resulted in a conviction. From the last nine lawsuits, none were deemed to reflect poorly on the character of VF Corporation. The decision listed 29 lawsuits which dated back to the 1990s. The OIO said VF had robust protocols and programmes in place to ensure all workers received fair working conditions. The OIO report was sourced under the Official Information Act.