Fruit of the Loom
Clothing
Production occurs in Latin America, and at a new manufacturing plant in Morocco which serves the European market. Distributed in Australia by Range Works Pty Ltd.

Overall

Owned USA
Rating F
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

Fruit of the Loom Ltd
USA
Berkshire Hathaway Inc
owns 100% of Fruit of the Loom Ltd
USA
Conglomerate
The world's 3rd richest man, Warren Buffett, owns about a quarter of the company. Berkshire Hathaway owns stakes of $1 billion or more in many companies including American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble, Sanofi, Wells Fargo, and IBM. Acquired half of Heinz in 2013.

Company Assessment

Fruit of the Loom Ltd
Praise
This company is a signatory to the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry. The International Accord was established in 2021 as the successor to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which was established in 2013 in the wake of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,000 workers and seriously injured thousands more. Company signatories to the International Accord commit to: Disclosing all factories producing for them in countries with International Accord programs; Ensuring all listed factories participate in the inspection, remediation, and safety training programs; Supporting factories to ensure remediation is financially feasible; Contributing to the operational costs of International Accord programs.
This company has signed the Cotton Pledge with the Responsible Sourcing Network, signifying a public commitment to not knowingly source Turkmen cotton for the manufacturing of any of their products until the Government of Turkmenistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector. Each cotton season, Turkmen public sector workers are forced by the government to fulfill cotton picking quotas and private businesses are forced to contribute to the efforts financially or with labor. This places a huge burden on the health, education, and general well-being of Turkmen citizens.
The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge (Transparency Pledge) helps demonstrate apparel and footwear companies' commitment towards greater transparency in their manufacturing supply chain. Transparency of a company's manufacturing supply chain better enables a company to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. This is a critical step that strengthens a company's human rights due diligence. This company is fully aligned with the Transparency Pledge, thereby committing to regularly publish on its website a list naming all sites that manufacture its products.
Criticism
The Clean Clothes Campaign report, Tailored Wages 2019 analyses responses from 32 top clothing brands about their progress in implementing a living wage for the workers who produce their clothes. This company received the lowest possible grade in the report, meaning they produced no evidence that any worker making their clothes was paid a living wage anywhere in the world.
Information
This 2010 investigative report by the Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights reveals systematic gross violations of human and worker rights in Jordanian sweatshops operated by Classic Fashion Apparel. Wal-Mart, Hanesbrands, Macy's, Russell, and Fruit of the Loom are among their customers. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target.
When joining the Fair Labor Association (FLA) this company committed to promoting and complying with international labor standards throughout their supply chain. The FLA does not accredit the company itself; rather, they accredit the company's labor compliance program. Being granted accreditation implies that their workplace standards program is substantially in compliance with the FLA Code.
This company signed the Uzbek Cotton Pledge with the Responsible Sourcing Network, signifying a public commitment to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of their products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector. However the Pledge was lifted in March 2022 after the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, who monitored the annual cotton harvest since 2010, found no state-imposed forced labor in the 2021 harvest.
This company is a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a legally binding, five-year commitment to improve safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment factories. The Alliance aims to improve worker safety in the Bangladesh garment industry by upgrading factories, educating workers and management, empowering workers, and building institutions that can enforce and maintain safe working conditions throughout Bangladesh. However it lacks an important enforcement mechanism included in the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and unlike the Accord, the Alliance has not received the endorsement of the ILO.
This company is a member of The Sustainability Consortium, an organization of diverse global participants that work collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. They develop transparent methodologies, tools, and strategies to drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social, and economic imperatives.
This company is a member of How2Recycle. The How2Recycle Label is a voluntary, standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. It involves a coalition of forward thinking brands who want their packaging to be recycled and are empowering consumers through smart packaging labels. Companies must be a member of the program to use the How2Recycle Label.
This company is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a voluntary program which encourages the adoption of better management practices in cotton cultivation to achieve measurable reductions in key environmental impacts, while improving social and economic benefits for cotton farmers, small and large, worldwide.
This company is a member of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), an industry-driven movement that aims to monitor and assess workplace standards across the global supply chain. Participating companies are expected to follow a code of conduct which has 11 principles including no bonded labour, no child labour, fair renumeration, decent working hours and ethical business behavior.
Baptist World Aid Australia's '2022 Ethical Fashion Report' assessed 120 companies on their efforts to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Assessment criteria fall into five main categories: policy & governance, tracing & risk, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental sustainability. This company received a score of 34/100.
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
In 2020 Baptist World Aid Australia released The COVID Fashion Report, a special edition of their Ethical Fashion Report. The report is framed around six COVID Fashion Commitments that ask companies to demonstrate the steps and measures they are taking to protect and support the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains. This company showed evidence of actions that cover SOME areas of the COVID Fashion Commitments.
The 2023 Fashion Transparency Index reviewed 250 of the world's largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their human rights and environmental policies, practices and impacts. Brands owned by this company scored 34%, signifying it is publishing suppliers lists as well as detailed information about their policies, procedures, social and environmental goals, supplier assessment and remediation processes, and is more likely to be addressing issues such as living wages and collective bargaining. The average score was 26% and the highest score was 83%.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Criticism
Forest 500 identifies the 350 companies and 150 financial institutions with the greatest exposure to tropical deforestation risk, and annually assesses them on the strength and implementation of their deforestation and human rights commitments. This financial institution received a score of 0%.
The Insure Our Future campaign by a group of NGOs has ranked the world's leading insurance companies on fossil fuel insurance, fossil fuel divestment, and other climate leadership. This company was among the worst performers.
As You Sow's 2022 report, 'Road to Zero Emissions', assessed the progress of 55 of the largest U.S. corporations in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the Paris Agreement's objective of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which requires achieving "net zero" emissions by 2050. Companies are graded on: climate related disclosures; GHG reduction targets, and GHG reductions. This company received an Overall Net Zero grade of F.
As You Sow's 2019 report, Mining the Disclosures, is a deep analysis of 215 companies' human rights performance in relation to sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This company's score was 23.9% (Weak).
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked in the Bottom 10% of 937 companies, and 10th of 12 Consumer & Diversified Finance companies.
InfluenceMap's 2021 Climate Policy Footprint report identifies the world's most obstructive corporate and industry association holding back Paris Agreement-aligned climate policy. This company is named in the report as one of the 25 most negatively influential corporations. "Very significant economic clout. Supporting long-term role for coal in the energy mix, senior executives appear to have questioned consensus around climate change science."
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 12/100 in the Diversified Financial Services and Capital Markets category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 23 Sep 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
The 2022 Financial System Benchmark ranks 400 financial institutions across three measurement areas: governance and strategy, respecting planetary boundaries (environment, climate and biodiversity) and adhering to societal conventions (human rights). This company ranked #291/400, with a total score of 3.8/100.
The 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking, published by WWF, Solidaridad and the Pesticide Action Network UK analysed the 77 largest cotton users among international apparel brands and retailers, reviewing their policies, actual uptake of more sustainable cotton and transparency in their supply chains. According to the report, this company is "not yet started" with a score of 0.3%. The average score was 18.2% and the highest score was 79.2%.
Information
This company's 90% owned subsidiary, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is involved in the production of coal or coal-based energy.
This 2009 report by the International Labor Rights Forum outlines several areas in which Berkshire Hathaway faces significant environmental, labor rights and human rights issues. [Listed under information due to age of report]
Source: ILRF (2009)
This company has the low score of 20% on a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in corporate America.
As documented by the Project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), this company is involved in the USA prison industry. Its subsidiary Shaw Industries uses prison labor. Other subsidiaries provide equipment, utilities, and uniforms to prisons and jails.
Source: AFSC (2021)
This company received a score of 0/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. Follow link to see this company's record of political donations, lobbying, outside spending and more.

Company Details

Type:
Wholly-owned subsidiary
Employees:
23,000 (2009)
Subsidiaries:
Russell Brands LLC
Clothing
Part of Bershire Hathaway's Fruit of the Loom division. Brands include Russell, Brooks, Spalding & Sherrin.
Brooks Sports, Inc.
Sports shoes and clothing
Founded in 1914, its products are sold in more than 40 countries. Acquired by Russell Corporation in 2004, which was acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in 2008.
Russell Corporation Australia Pty Ltd
Clothing
Mitch Dowd took over distribution of Russell Athletic in Australia in 2020.

Contact Details

Address:
Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
Website:
www.fruitoftheloom.com

Products / Brands

Fruit of the Loom
Fruit of the Loom Everyday Apparel
Vanity Fair Intimate Apparel
Brooks Sports
Brooks Sportswear
Brooks Sports Shoes
Russell Australia
Spalding Sportswear
Spalding Sports Shoes
Russell Australia / Mitch Dowd Design (distributor)
Russell Athletic Sportswear