The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry Model Code of Conduct


The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry was formed in 1978 to promote the world's sporting activities, to standardize the size of equipment and the rules of sport, to improve the standards of quality for sporting goods and to promote fair trade in sporting goods in the international marketplace.

WFSGI currently consists of a diverse membership from over 50 countries in Europe, America, and Asia. WFSGI members include large multinational corporations and small national firms, companies that serve as suppliers to other companies and companies that market directly to consumers. Perhaps most importantly, WFSGI members include federations representing the domestic sporting goods industry of individual nations. Including the members of national federations, over 12,000 enterprises -- employing many hundreds of thousands of people -- are affiliated in some way with WFSGI.

The WFSGI established its Committee on Ethics and Fair Trade (CEFT) in 1995 to advance the WFSGI mission of promoting fair trade in sporting goods. CEFT convened two international conferences to bring together members of the industry with leading non-governmental organizations, representatives of UN agencies and government officials to explore how to respond to the problem of child labor. Out of those efforts, the CEFT spearheaded the historic partnership among the global sporting goods industry, the International Labour Organization, UNICEF, and the Save the Children Fund (UK) to combat child labor in the production of soccer balls.

CEFT's concern for ethics and fair trade has not been limited to its program to combat child labor. After close consultation with its constituent federations and other members, and ongoing dialogue with representatives of non-governmental organizations and international agencies, CEFT has developed a Model Code of Conduct to assist companies in the sporting goods industry. The Code has been designed to serve as a model for companies committed to ensuring that their operations satisfy the highest ethical standards in the global marketplace.


WFSGI members recognize the important role they play in the global economy and their influence on the social and economic conditions under which sporting goods are manufactured and produced. That influence is exercised both through their actions as employers and far more profoundly through their decisions as customers of companies that serve as suppliers of goods and services.

The relationship between WFSGI member companies and their suppliers must be based on trust, mutual respect and common values. WFSGI is committed to fostering a sporting goods industry in which member companies actively seek business partners who share these goals and values and who accept the responsibility.

At the same time, WFSGI acknowledges that companies operate under different legal, economic, social and cultural environments and these differences merit understanding and respect. Recognizing that its membership is diverse, WFSGI has adopted this Model Code of Conduct to assist individual companies in ensuring ethical business practices. The following Code is intended to highlight and reinforce fundamental principles of business ethics held by WFSGI's individual member companies:


Member companies and the companies that produce goods for them ("employers") should operate in full compliance with national and local laws, rules and regulations relevant to their business operations.


Where local industry standards are higher than the legal requirements then these should apply. In some countries the legal requirements fall short of international legal standards and members should apply the following minimum criteria:

Forced labour

Employers shall not employ involuntary prison, indentured or forced labour in their operations.


Employers should endeavour to recruit, train, promote, retire and terminate workers on equal terms on the basis of suitability for the job and without discrimination.

Right of Association

The right of workers to join and organize associations of their own choosing should be respected.


Workers should be paid at least the minimum legal wage or a wage that is consistent with local industry standards, whichever is greater.

Wages should be paid direct to the worker in cash or cheque or equivalent; information relating to wages should be available to workers in an understandable form.

Wage rates for overtime should be higher than the rates for regular hours.

Advances on and deductions from wages should be carefully monitored.

Hours of work, days off, holidays

Employers should not require a work week in excess of 60 hours, including overtime, on a regular basis.

Workers should have at least 24 hours consecutive hours rest per week on a regular basis.

Workers should have paid annual leave.

Child labour

Employers shall not employ children who are less than 15 years old (or 14 years old in countries with insufficiently developed economies and educational facilities) or younger than the age for completing compulsory education if that age is higher than 15, if such employment jeopardizes educational, social or cultural development.

No persons shall be employed in conditions of forced or bonded child labour.

Health and safety

Employers must treat all workers with respect and dignity and provide them with a safe and healthy working environment. Factories shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding working conditions.

Standards and procedures should be elaborated to protect workers from fire, accidents and toxic substances. Lighting, heating and ventilation systems should be adequate. Workers should have access at all times to sanitary facilities, which should be adequate and clean. Where residential facilities are provided for workers similar standards should apply.


Every employee should be treated with respect and dignity. No employee should be subject to any physical, ***ual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse.


Member companies shall comply with all relevant laws and regulations regarding the protection and preservation of the environment. In particular, members should carefully monitor discharges and waste which could pollute the local environment.


Employers recognise the economic and social impact of their work and are committed to improving conditions in the wider community.


Members should take steps to ensure compliance with these standards in their own operations and those who supply them.

Members should consider requiring suppliers to provide legally binding contractual assurances of their compliance with these standards and develop mechanisms to monitor their own performance and that of their suppliers.


Members are encouraged to draw up their own specific code of ethical conduct, if they have not already done so, building on the above standards.

July 1997