Verité, an operational and delivery network, has studied the issues of human trafficking and labor exploitation in order to combat abuses across sectors and industries. A company that prides itself on its social awareness and concern for both its employees and the environment, Patagonia is a founding member of the Fair Labor Association. Even so, an audit undertaken by Verité exposed numerous instances of exploitation in the supply chain of the adventure company.
Problems stemmed from second and third tier suppliers, many located in Taiwan, who used so-called “labor brokers” to recruit migrants and control workers through financial controls and restrictions on movement. The findings demonstrate the near impossibility of solving the problem of worker abuse, even when a company has a highly moral social conscience. Patagonia has worked through its first tier suppliers and is now focusing on developing solutions for subcontractors on the second tier and has employment standards for the migrant workers that are employed along their supply chain.