The need for an independent facility auditing body arose in the mid-1990s when reports surfaced of sweatshop-like conditions in numerous apparel factories around the world. These issues included excessive working hours, unsafe conditions, and the denial of several mandated benefits to workers.
Recognizing the danger this situation posed to the apparel industry, the American Apparel Manufacturers Association (now the American Apparel and Footwear Association) moved to coordinate an industry response to the issue.
A task force was formed which received input from a variety of stakeholders, including brands, suppliers, NGOs, academia, and government officials. After this process, the task force recommended the creation of an independent third-party organization free of government or corporate influence that could identify and reduce the prevalence of sweatshop conditions in factories around the world. The first Board of Directors was constituted in 1999, and WRAP was officially incorporated in 2000.
Recognizing that the program’s credibility depends on ensuring objectivity, WRAP is specifically organized to be independent – both financially and in terms of governance – of the apparel industry.
This starts with the make-up of our independent Board of Directors. Although the apparel sector has some representation on our Board to provide insight and perspective, by charter, the majority of the Board is required to be comprised of individuals who are independent of the industry. Further, WRAP is not set up as a membership organization, and our income is generated through facility registration fees and training revenues. We do not collect membership dues/fees, and we do not accept any form of government grants.
Today, WRAP has grown to become a global leader in social compliance and a trusted independent supply chain partner for dozens of brands, retailers, and manufacturers located around the world.
Our comprehensive facility-based auditing model has made us the world’s largest independent social compliance certification program for the apparel/textile industry (according to a UNIDO study, Making Private Standards Work For You, WRAP is the “standard most often cited” for social compliance certification in the textile sector).
There are currently over 2,700 WRAP-certified facilities employing over 2.5 million workers located across the globe.