The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and ETI have jointly launched a pilot training project for China-based garment and footwear factories supplying ETI member companies. The project forms part of the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (ILO SCORE) Programme and was launched in Shanghai on 29 August.
Based on ILO's rich experience in working with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), SCORE provides training and in-factory counseling to SMEs to strengthen their overall productivity while improving working conditions and labour-management. It consists of five training modules, including workplace cooperation, quality management, cleaner production, workforce management and occupational safety and health. It is implemented in China as well as in another six developing countries. SCORE has proved successful in terms of improving buyer-supplier relationships by offering opportunities for SMEs to develop the management skills which will enhance their compliance capability.
As a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs, ETI promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe. SCORE will work directly with brands, and the training and consulting will be piloted in five garment and footwear factories supplying ETI members Gap, Inditex and Pentland Brands. ETI company members are committed to working with suppliers to uphold international labour standards through a process of active engagement that goes beyond audit.
Tim De Meyer, Director of ILO Beijing Office, at the launch event, stressed that the dynamic collaboration among businesses across national borders held the promise of mutual benefit in the form of creating employment opportunities, empowering people, creating the financial space to shield people from income insecurity, alleviating poverty and furthering socio-economic integration. He also praised the efforts made by the brands to help their Chinese suppliers enhance their competitiveness in line with the principles laid down in the ILO’s universal instrument the Multinational Declaration (Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy). He said “the prominent role of multi-national enterprises in the process of social and economic globalization renders the application of the principles of the MNE Declaration as timely and necessary as they were at the time of adoption”.
ETI China Representative, Yun Gao, said: “We are thrilled to be working with ILO SCORE in China, which helps suppliers improve productivity and product quality through improving working conditions and processes. It offers an opportunity for member brands to develop strategic relationships with their suppliers and emphasise the importance of worker voice in key decisions that affect them.”
ILO and ETI signed a partnership framework at the launch event, followed by contract signing between member companies and SCORE service providers. Participating suppliers respectively located in Anhui, Jiangsu and Guangdong province will receive training and in-factory counseling, with modules selected to address their specific needs. Managers and workers will receive hands-on guidance, with trainers focusing on developing enterprise improvement teams, improvement plans and a process of continuous improvement. The project would be up-scaled to interested parties if the pilot proves successful, and learning will be shared.