What responsibility should a company have for workers it doesn't employ?

published 17-01-2013 13:55, last modified 22-05-2013 23:38
In today’s global economy, the clothes we wear will have been produced by workers across an ocean and passed from one business to another before being sold for a tidy profit by a retailer whose name we all know. The Clean Clothes Campaign believes a company's responsibility encompasses its complete supply chain all the way down to home-based workers.

All companies -- large and small -- are able to commit resources to monitoring the quality control of their products. If they can do that, then they should be able to commit enough resources to ensure that workers enjoy decent working conditions and respect for human and labour rights. Larger companies may find it easier to do this single-handedly than small or medium-sized companies.

But all companies, regardless of size, can collaborate and join projects with industry associations to exchange information on systems, methods and procedures, and share the cost of monitoring and verifying conditions in their supply chains. In the Netherlands, for example, small and medium-sized retailers and producers can participate in the Fair Wear Foundation through industry federations MITEX and MODINT.