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Rocking the Red (Responsibly)

By: Seth Lennon
Jun 8

Greetings, my name is Seth Lennon, I am the new Communications Manager here at WRAP, and its time for me to dive nose deep into the realm that is social compliance. Granted, I’ve only been here a few weeks, but my immersion into this world has been overwhelming occasionally, but always enlightening. The more I have learned, the more questions I find myself asking about how our work here at WRAP impacts so many facets of our world. As this internal monologue progressed, I ended up considering the impact of social compliance on another important aspect of my life.

For a little background, I am passionate about the sport of ice hockey. I have been involved with it for the better part of two decades. During my non-WRAP life, I am the goalie coach for the Red Line Athletic Club out in Cabin John, MD and I play recreationally here in the area. I also support the Washington Capitals of the NHL,  who as of the writing of this blog just won the organization’s first ever Stanley Cup championship. With the near hysteria surrounding this event, I did what any obsessed fan would do: I bought merchandise.

My choice of merchandise was a jersey/shirt of their starting goalkeeper, Braden Holtby, with the all-important commemorative patch indicating their participation in the championship series.

A week after ordering, I got a package in the mail:I opened that package and here is what awaited me.

I opened that package and here is what awaited me. The jersey which I had so eagerly awaited to receive and was even more eager to put on.

In the natural excitement of the arrival of my recent purchase, I was ready to throw it on…but as I did, I noticed something:

It’s something I had noticed a bunch of times: the “Made In” label. But until this instance, it did not carry a great deal of weight with me.  This moment was different. At this moment, I found myself just staring at it. Very quickly, dozens of questions went through my head. “How was the production for this jersey sourced?”, “Was it made ethically?”, “What is life like for the workers in Vietnam who took the time to make this jersey?”, “Are they getting paid on time?”, “Do they have free access to their passports?”, “Is the factory safe?” These are all questions that I would not have asked even six months ago, but now I am. At this very moment; I was curious. I wanted to learn more. I decided it’s time to use my devotion to a kid’s game as my chance to begin my crash course learning more about the world of social compliance, a journey that I will detail in my next installment.

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Rocking the Red and Closing the Circle

Posted on July 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, I talked how my love of hockey intertwined with my new career in the realm of social compliance. A week after the article was written, the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history. During the final series, I did what any sports fan would do: I became a creature of routine bordering on what some may call extreme superstition.

I went to the same venue (Port City Brewing Company based out in Northern Virginia) and every game during the finals, I rotated jerseys, specifically the jerseys I own bearing the name and number of Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

(Special Side Note: I did wear the Holtby jersey for one game during the finals…it was the game they lost.)

On June 7, the Capitals won the Stanley Cup and to say I was elated was putting it mildly. A couple of days later, I came upon the jersey I wore for the clinching game of the series.

This jersey was in fact the first Ovechkin jersey I had purchased all the way back in 2007 when I arrived in the Washington DC metropolitanarea.

Like I had done with the Holtby jersey I had purchased weeks earlier, I took a good look at the label.

And then of course, much like before, I began a long consideration about this jersey’s journey from production to my fingertips.

I also reflected on the journey that the whole social compliance realm, to my knowledge, had taken in that 11 year time frame. While not made in Bangladesh, the older Ovechkin jersey had come from the pre-Rana Plaza world. 

Ethical sourcing was not quite the priority it was in 2007 as it is in 2018. After considering these facts, it’s safe to say that I am at least uncertain to the exact nature of how that 2007 jersey was sourced. I have much more peace of mind when it comes to the newest addition to my jersey collection.

 

 

 

Also, I went ahead and did what any good fan does. I bought A LOT of championship memorabilia.  

When I look at the labels of all the "swag" I bought- many if not all brands here have made the commitment towards ethical sourcing of apparel. I can have at least some level of confidence that the individual (s) that assembled my “swag” are being paid properly, possess safe working conditions and are not being forced work hours that border on the inhumane.

 

 

 

 

There are still several issues to address. The sports apparel world is a bastion for counterfeit products, which not only do not have the same assurances when it comes to ethical sourcing and production of these items is known to aid organized crime and even terrorism. This might be something to talk about to down the road.

In the meantime, I want to leave everyone with a happier image.

Yes, that is me on the right, touching the Stanley Cup. Wearing another one of the jerseys that brought me a measure of good luck.

 

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