The Basics of Social Compliance: What should we do?

We ensure that goods are not produced at the expense of human dignity, safety, health, the environment or communities’ well being.

Think about your clothes, cars, and just things. Where were all our things made? And more importantly who made them? Maybe a brand or retailer was responsible for the design of these products but actually who made them? Well people made these things. Lots of people are responsible for the production of all the goods we own. All the way from gathering raw materials, to processing, packaging, shipping, selling, and then eventually buying these items. The supply chain of one item connects hundreds or even thousands of people all over the world.

Now as a consumer myself, I want to make sure that any item I purchase did not cause any harm to any other human being. Instead, I want my purchases to empower people by providing them economic opportunity and the ability to take care of their families.

What harm can manufacturing cause? Here are just a few examples.

  • In 1996 the International Trade Union Confederation, found and presented video proof that children were responsible for the production of official FIFA soccer balls. Sialkot, Pakistan manufactured almost two-thirds of the world’s soccer balls making some of the world’s largest international governing and private bodies in one-way or another tied to child labor, as reported by Clean Clothes Campaign in “Play Fair at the Olympics: 45 hours of Forced Overtime in One Week.”
  • As reported by the Institute of Human Rights, In April of 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight story and five factory industrial building, that housed over 3000 apparel workers in Dhaka Bangladesh collapsed killing over 1,137 people with 200 people still missing.
  • And an even more recent example, in a report by the International Trade Union Confederation, migrant workers from mostly Southeast Asia responsible for constructing the stadiums and venues for the Qatar 2022 World Cup are not only basically slaves living in squalor but trapped in Qatar for the duration of the construction of these structures.

Now these are the more extreme examples. In the United States, we see issues relating to overtime, home working, and health and safety that jeopardize workers and communities’ well being. However, we should be careful not to vilify manufacturers or worker agencies as they are also trying to make their businesses profitable in difficult economic climates, where production can be shifted to anyplace in the world that offers cheaper production costs. The picture is far more complicated and thus takes a myriad of people to get involved.

That is what we do in the social compliance industry. We promote social responsibility in the production of any good. We do this by bringing together all the interested parties such as suppliers, retailers, worker agencies, governments, workers, unions and consumers to discuss workplace conditions and brainstorm ways to improve such conditions that both protect workers and in general better businesses’ prospects.

Jennifer J. Winter

Founder & Managing Director at Fire Lantern Consulting

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1 Response

  1. I am Garments employee . I work as compliance officer in Garments.So i need some important document.

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