News Article

Platform Launched for Affordable Corporate Social Responsibility Approach

Industry- & Retail Organizations

OSTERMUNDIGEN, Switzerland – The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) is opening up the Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI). This is a platform that helps sporting goods as well as bicycle companies to efficiently implement unified corporate and social responsibility standards.

Platform Launched for Affordable Corporate Social Responsibility Approach
RSI helps companies to save money, human resources and reduces audit-fatigue among their suppliers. – Photo WFSGI

The RSI has been launched last year at the initiative of bicycle companies in the WFSGI. This year the federation is encouraging bicycle companies that are not a WFSGI member as well as companies from other sectors of the sporting goods industry to take part. “We see huge potential for sports companies to work together, to sustainably promote and monitor corporate and social responsibility standards throughout the industry,” says Marc Magnus, trade and corporate responsibility manager at the WFSGI.

Audit-sharing system

The RSI functions with a system of audit-sharing that makes it more practical and affordable for companies to thoroughly check the compliance of their suppliers. The audits are conducted by independent, third-party audit service providers approved by the RSI, working with standards that are aligned with the WFSGI Code of Conduct. Participants may administer their audits on the RSI platform, or request the WFSGI to take care of the administration.

Fair Factories Clearinghouse

The audit-sharing leans on Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC), a platform created by a non-profit and membership-based software provider. FFC runs an online service where members may find audits of their suppliers conducted by other (unidentified) members. However, the RSI has created its own system within the FFC and it pro-actively creates links between companies that are planning audits at the same factories.

Overlap assessments

As Magnus explains, RSI requests participants to compile a list of their planned audits twice per year. It then conducts an overlap assessment and provides the participants with a list of their factories where other companies are considering audits. This allows the participants to re-evaluate their audit list, in order to take more advantage of shared initiatives.

‘Lead brand’

The system developed efficiently with bicycle companies last year is that RSI appoints a “lead brand” for each of the shared audits. This lead brand is the factory’s contact for any corrective plan and it has an obligation to share the results of the corrective actions.

The audit costs are split equally between the companies that agreed to share the audit.

Exchanges on audit-sharing, the results of audits and corrective measures are all communicated on the RSI platform. Participants may also use the FFC as their in-house IT solution to manage their supply chain beyond the audit-sharing feature.

Saving money & reducing audit-fatigue at suppliers

“The entire system helps companies to save money and human resources, and to reduce audit-fatigue among their suppliers,” said Erik van der Hout, Chair of the RSI Steering Committee and Accell Group’s CSR Manager. “For smaller companies that may not have their own corporate and social responsibility standards and teams in place, it may also help them to gain traction in this area.”

Efficient thanks to collaborative approach

The RSI turns out to be efficient for bicycle companies because they share many suppliers and adopted a strongly collaborative approach. The broad support for the RSI in the bike sector provided increased leverage. The RSI could thus have the most significant impact in other parts of the sporting goods industry that operate with clusters of manufacturers working for the same brands, such as team sports ball production.

Participation does not require WFSGI membership and is open to any interested party. For more information: Marc-Ivar Magnus,, +41 31 939 6061

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