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About ETI

Edible horticulture worker, Tanzania

The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a ground-breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations. We work in partnership to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable workers across the globe who make or grow consumer goods - everything from tea to T-shirts, from flowers to footballs.

Our vision is a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination, and work in conditions of freedom, security and equity. This year our corporate members' ethical trade activities touched the lives of over 9.8 million workers.

What is ethical trade?

Ethical trade means that retailers, brands and their suppliers take responsibility for improving the working conditions of the people who make the products they sell. Most of these workers are employed by supplier companies around the world, many of them based in poor countries where laws designed to protect workers' rights are inadequate or not enforced.

Companies with a commitment to ethical trade adopt a code of labour practice that they expect all their suppliers to work towards. Such codes address issues like wages, hours of work, health and safety and the right to join free trade unions.

Why is ETI needed?

'Doing' ethical trade is much harder than it sounds. Modern supply chains are vast, complex and span the globe. Labour issues are themselves challenging. For example, what exactly is ‘a living wage'? What should a company do if it finds children working in a supplier's worksite? Evicting children from the workplace can, paradoxically, make their lives worse.

ETI brings corporate, trade union and voluntary sector members together in a unique alliance that enables us to collectively tackle many thorny issues that cannot be addressed by individual companies working alone.