‘Map’ of supply chain issues due in new projectOctober 2011
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is to map key global supply chains to tackle the basic causes of the abuse and exploitation of poor and vulnerable workers.
It will include all production stages, from the extraction of raw materials to assembly, across three categories of operation – food and farming, ‘hard goods’ and household, and apparel and garments.
As part of the new approach, the ETI will examine poor company purchasing practices, unhelpful government policies and hostility to trade unions.
The project, funded from a £1.2m ($1.8m, €1.4m) Department for International Development grant, is intended to drive widespread, sustainable change and the ETI has beefed up its team to manage the work – Ruth Baker joins from Plan International to become its new head of fundraising and communications, and former GMB trade union deputy general secretary Debbie Coulter becomes programme leader.
ETI director Peter McAllister said: “Our new approach will focus on tackling the root causes, rather than the symptoms, of workers’ rights abuses. Taking a series of key supply chains right down to raw material production, we will seek to understand and then tackle the factors that contribute to exploitation.
“Too many workers around the world continue to be denied their rights. It’s time all those involved in ethical trade focused more on whether we are actually making a positive, sustained difference.
“There’s no point training factory workers about their rights if they’re prevented by their employers from joining unions, or if the buying practices of the factory’s customers make it difficult for them to keep hours down to reasonable levels, or to pay their workers a decent wage.”
The ETI is an alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that works to improve workers’ lives across the globe, counting Fyffes Group, Marks & Spencer and Tesco among its members.
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