Greater public disclosure of the human rights conditions embedded in global supply chains is rapidly becoming the norm for multinational companies managing complex sourcing relationships around the world. While for some companies, increased supply chain transparency may be the logical result of a maturing social responsibility program, external pressures from civil society and governments, including emerging regulations that carry significant legal and financial risks, are also clearly driving this shift in industry norms – for everybody.
To better understand the risks of child labor in garment supply chains, a Dutch multi-stakeholder Working Group on Child Labor began working in 2015 to investigate the apparel and cotton supply chains of garment companies doing business in the Netherlands. This working group – comprising Dutch sector organizations, garment companies, the Stop Child Labour (SCL) coalition, and UNICEF Netherlands – designed a pilot project implemented by the FLA and Development Workshop.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) today announced the selection of Michael Posner as the Chair of its Board of Directors. He is the Director of the New York University (NYU) Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. Posner, the Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics and Finance at NYU Stern, co-founded the Center for Business and Human Rights in 2013. It is the first human rights center at a business school. Prior to joining NYU Stern, Posner served from 2009 to 2013 as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department. From 1978 to 2009, he served as founding director of Human Rights First, a US-based human rights advocacy organization.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA), along with 20 apparel and footwear brands sourcing from Turkey, and four other workers' rights organizations, delivered a letter to the office of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 27, thanking the Turkish government for its extension of work permits to Syrian refugees as of January 2016, and calling for adjustments to the work permit program to improve conditions for Syrians who are seeking work in Turkey.
In December of 2016 the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) jointly hosted a roundtable meeting in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss the challenges and opportunities of integrating Syrian refugees into the Turkish labor market. The roundtable attracted 120 participants from international brands sourcing from Turkey, local manufacturers, international and local trade unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), workers’ rights organizations, municipalities, and representatives from Turkish Ministry of Labor & Social Security and the Ministry of the Interior.
Today, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released its first annual compensation report, publishing data on the earnings of workers in 124 mostly apparel and footwear factories assessed by the FLA in 2015. This first-of-its kind collection and publication of wage data and analysis is part of a commitment by the FLA and its affiliates to improve compensation for workers in global supply chains.
New FLA President Sharon Waxman outlines three broad goals for the Fair Labor Association in 2016:
1) Strengthening Our Core Work
2) Building Toward the Future
3) Outward-Facing Initatives
"With a solid foundation of strang leadership and the indefatigable energy of the staff, the FLA is ready to ... build on the work of the past, and to usher in new ideas, new partnerships, and new ways of working together to advance the common goalswe share of improving working condiitions worldwide," says Waxman.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) today announced a cooperative agreement of $4.87 million to the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to pilot test the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s "Guidelines for Eliminating Child and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains" over the next 28 months. The FLA will partner with three companies affiliated with the FLA – Nestlé, Olam-Prodiga and Balsu – in applying the guidelines to their hazelnut supply chain in Turkey.
Sharon Waxman, a lifelong advocate for human rights who has held leadership positions on Capitol Hill, at the U.S. State Department, and at the International Rescue Committee, has been named President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), effective December 1. She was elected by the organization’s 19-member Board of Directors, which includes six representatives each representing civil society, universities and industry, and an independent chair.
In December of 2014, DanWatch, a Danish civil society organization that monitors the corporate social responsibility of multinational companies, posted to its website the documentary “Seeds of Debt” by journalist Jens Pedersen. The documentary reported instances of exploitative high-interest money lending to farmers in rural Andhra Pradesh, India – including to farmers producing seeds for FLA affiliate Syngenta. Footage of an interview conducted with a Hyderabad-based agricultural research expert, who has assessed Syngenta farms on behalf of the FLA, went on to link low seed prices paid