The Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America and Elevate, a global services firm specializing in supply chain social, environmental and business performance, have partnered to issue the FDRA’s fifth Factory Survey Analysis.
The report, which polls Chinese factories on social compliance issues, contains data from 110 factories across the country. While the survey revealed a strong sense of optimism among factories about business prospects, it noted challenges related to seasonal production fluctuations, raw material costs and shrinking labor pools.
“The goal of the survey was to gain insight into the current state of footwear production in China and to develop a better understanding of how factories are managing the various challenges facing the industry,” FDRA President Matt Priest said in a statement. “If we can better help our members understand what issues factories face and what challenges they prioritize, we can enhance industry communication and more effectively work with factories in a collaborative way.”
According to the report, factories acknowledged handling these challenges by providing longer working hours, as well as hiring juvenile workers and those of retirement age, solutions that increase the risk of noncompliance with the social performance requirements of buyers.
Wages, noted the report, also remain a key challenge for manufacturers, with 11 percent not paying legal minimum wage.