Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
Established by industry association American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA represents over 700 companies), Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production claims to run 'the largest independent facility certification program in the world mainly focused on the apparel, footwear, and sewn products sectors'.
WRAP carries a code of conduct similar to 'rival' initiatives such as SA8000 and the ETI, however, when national law clashes with a particular standard, WRAP does not actively attempt to influence the behaviour of either governments or brands.
In its governance and finances, WRAP claims to be independent from industry. WRAP is governed by a 10-member Board of Directors, the majority of whom are required by WRAP's Articles of Incorporation to be from outside the apparel and footwear industries.
WRAP receives its income from registration, training and accreditation fees. In neither seeking nor accepting government grants WRAP claims to be fully financially independent.
WRAP is not a membership organisation, and does not certify brands or businesses, only facilities/factories. It places full responsibility for the certification process on factories, and does not make any demands of brands.
In 2008, over 1,700 factories from 60 countries participated in WRAP certification. Certification lasts between 6 months and 2 years.
In addition to labour issues derived from ILO conventions, WRAP also addresses the environment, customs compliance and drug interdiction in The Wrap 12 Principles.
These relate to the following issues:
1) Compliance with Laws and Workplace Regulations,
2) Prohibition of Forced Labour,
3) Prohibition of Child Labour,
4) Prohibition of Harassment or Abuse,
5) Compensation and Benefits,
6) Hours of Work,
7) Prohibition of Discrimination,
8) Health and Safety,
9) Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining,
11) Customs Compliance,
12) Security. WRAP rarely conducts on-site inspections with its own personnel.
It usually bases its evaluation of a factory on unannounced (within a notified 30-day window) assessments conducted by WRAP-accredited auditors.
WRAP has received heavy criticism by unions and NGOs since its inception.
Although it has no formal legal links with the AAFA, some NGOs, such as the International Labor Rights Forum have argued that WRAP was "set up as an industry-dominated project to avoid outside, legitimate monitoring".
Some academics concur, arguing that WRAP is not a strong multi-stakeholder initiative but a weaker industry-driven system: "Available evidence suggests that auditing under the WRAP system is quite lax".*
Meanwhile, the WRAP (and SA8000) approach, which places full responsibility for labour compliance on suppliers, has been criticised by fellow initiatives the ETI and FLA.
They “see this shift of responsibility from brands to mostly developing country producers as a problem, because it does not force brands to own up to their role in setting social standards" **.
WRAP has also been criticised by Maquila Solidarity Network for capitulating too much to local laws, and for being an industry-dominated project that lacks transparency.
WRAP does not publish a list of participating brands and retailers, choosing instead to let companies make their own choice about publicly acknowledging WRAP participation.
As a result, there is little awareness of WRAP among consumers, except those who visit companies' CSR pages.
WRAP certifies factories, not brands. It is not very transparent in providing specific details about its operations or finances.
Although WRAP publishes lists of both licensed auditors and certified facilities on its website, the latter list contains only factories that have provided express authorisation to be mentioned, while factory audit reports are not made public.
* Bartley, T. (2010) ‘Transnational Private Regulation in Practice: The Limits of Forest and Labor Standards Certification in Indonesia’, Business and Politics, 12 (3): Article 7.
** Braun, (2011) ‘Social Accountability International’, in T. Hale and D. Held (Eds.) Handbook of Transnational Governance: Institutions and Innovations. Cambridge: Polity Press.