Ethical supply chain audits failing workers & the planet

Author: Genevieve LeBaron & Jane Lister, New Internationalist Blog, Published on: 27 November 2016

"Working for corporations, but failing workers and the planet" 28 November 2016

In recent years incidents such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in April 2013 and the exposé...of...slavery and human trafficking in the Thai shrimp industry in 2014 have focused attention on the supply chains of global corporations. What has been reported less is that both of these incidents, and many others, took place within ‘certified’ and audited supply chains...Many key questions and serious concerns hang over the ethical audit regime. These include: are audits effective in identifying non-compliance and driving up standards, what does the audit regime mean for governments and NGOs, where does power lie within the audit regime and, ultimately, in whose interest is the ethical audit regime working...Whilst audits give the impression of active supply-chain monitoring and ‘continuous improvement’, the regime actually reinforces endemic problems in supply chains. It deflects pressure for stricter, state-based regulation and legitimises unsustainable global production models – in particular, a retail economy that promotes consumption and environmental degradation.

 

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