OHIO STATE JOINS APPAREL MANUFACTURING MONITORING CONSORTIUM
COLUMBUS -- The Ohio State University is taking steps to ensure that clothing that carries the university’s trademarks has been manufactured in a socially responsible way. Ohio State recently completed a study of its licensees which showed industry willingness to participate in closer monitoring of working conditions. As a result, Ohio State is joining Harvard University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of California system in a pilot project to gather information about the manufacture of university-licensed apparel.
Results of Ohio State’s own study will be presented Thursday (5/6) by Marsha Dickson, assistant professor of consumer and textile sciences, and Rick Van Brimmer, assistant director of the university’s Trademark and Licensing Office and chairman of the Association of Collegiate Licensing Administrators’ Labor Standards Task Force, in Las Vegas at the annual meeting of the association.
The study measured the university’s licensees’ views on codes of conduct, labor standards and workplace conditions for manufacturing collegiate products, such as caps and sweat shirts. Additionally, business activities of Ohio State licensees were measured to assess the risk that products with Ohio State logos are made under “sweatshop” conditions. The study did not reveal business practices that would suggest there are widespread problems in the production of trademarked merchandise by Ohio State licensees.
The university initiated the study to gain a better understanding of how and where products bearing the Ohio State trademarks are manufactured, said Janet Ashe, vice president for business and finance. “We also felt a study of our manufacturers would be representative of the collegiate marketplace in general,” she said, adding that Ohio State will share its findings with other universities.
The study, the first of its kind in the collegiate arena, was well received by licensees, Dickson said. “They were eager to share their views on the subject. In general, Ohio State’s licensees are supportive of the university’s efforts to assure socially responsible production of its products.”
Ashe said the Harvard project will monitor licensees’ factory conditions and labor practices, conducting at least 50 factory visits in the next year. “The intent is to undertake independent inquiries, gather information and analyze it in light of our capabilities and limitations as universities and licensors,” she said. “The goal is to give us first-hand information about the conditions in the factories where the apparel is made. With that information, each university can determine what its policies should be.”
Contact: Anne Chasser, director, or Rick Van Brimmer, assistant director, Office of Trademark and Licensing Services, (614) 292-1562