Worker Rights and Global Supply Chain

One of the unfortunate results of globalization is a race to the bottom by resource-poor, developing nations eager to secure sourcing contracts from wealthier countries. But low cost goods often come at the expense of workers, some of them children, who work in unsafe conditions, receive unsustainably low wages and have no collective bargaining rights. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights make clear a company's responsibility to uncover and eradicate these human rights abuses throughout its supply chains.

ICCR investor engagements have focused on some of the industries most vulnerable to these workplace abuses including the garment industry the electronic industry and the agricultural sector.

Featured ICCR Initiative

Bangladesh Investor Initiative. Following the collapse of Rana Plaza where nearly 1,200 garment factory workers lost their lives, ICCR has organized a coalition of over 200 global institutional investors representing 12 countries and $3.1 trillion in assets to promote reform of the global apparel sector to guarantee the safety and well-being of workers. On April 24, 2014, the coalition issued a public statement calling for renewed support for the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, established to help victims of the disaster rebuild their lives. Read the coalition's latest press release.

The initiative works to encourage apparel companies to sign The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety,a multi-stakeholder initiative that includes global brands, trade unions, civil society organizations and a representative of the International Labor Organization as the independent chair. Accord signatories agree to binding commitments to make the changes necessary to ensure worker safety. Investors have sent a letter to companies urging them to join the Accord.  Read the list of companies being approached to sign.

Featured Resources

Invested in Better Working Conditions for Garment Workers in Bangladesh (CE Vol 39 No. 4)

Remembering the Victims of Rana Plaza. ICCR and other groups are calling attention to the need for greater financial aid for the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster.

Effective Supply Chain Accountability: Investor Guidance on the Implementation of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and Beyond

The Responsible Sourcing Network's Expectations of Companies Reporting Conflict MineralsThe paper encourages companies to establish baselines in their inaugural reports and specify steps they will take to improve transparency in their conflict minerals sourcing.

The Global Social Compliance Program: An initiative of over 50 companies to collaborate on supply chain issues with common standards and tools to increase harmonization of approaches and improve working conditions. 

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh: The Accord is an independent agreement designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces. It includes independent safety inspections at factories and public reporting of the results of these inspections.

Know the Chain:  KnowTheChain was created as a resource to promote greater transparency and dialogue around the issue of slavery in supply chains. 

Clean Clothes CampaignImproving working conditions in the global garment industry.

Bangladeshi Workers Pay Price for West's Cheap Clothes: BBC coverage of Rana Plaza collapse.





What it's like working as an 11-year-old in a garment factory

Nazma Akter, President of Bangladesh Sommilito Garments Shomik Federation

ICCR interviews Nazma Akter about her what it was like to work in a Bangladesh factory as a child.

NPR's Planet Money makes a t-shirt

COTTON: Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt (Part I)

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