1st Edition

Implementing Codes of Conduct How Businesses Manage Social Performance in Global Supply Chains

By Ivanka Mamic Copyright 2004

    At the start of the 21st century manufacturing is in the midst of a major transformation, with goods moving from factories in São Paulo, Ho Chi Minh and Guanzhou to the shelves of stores in New York, Hamburg and Sydney. As production of goods has become increasingly global, with an impact on workers and societies around the world, the ILO has sought to answer the challenging question: how best to implement voluntary corporate initiatives in value chains that stretch around the globe from a constantly changing supply base of factories both large and small?

    In order to address growing pressures from stakeholders, a number of global companies have adopted codes of conduct with the aim of influencing the practices of their suppliers in less-developed countries and providing a baseline of expected standards. Typically, codes of conduct draw on international labour standards, setting guidelines on a range of issues, including child labour, forced labour, wages and benefits, working hours, disciplinary practices, the right to freedom of association, health and safety, and environmental practices. Notwithstanding the array of initiatives that has emerged, anecdotal evidence suggests that, in many cases, managers both at the company and supplier level have struggled and continue to struggle with the issue of how to implement their codes of conduct.

    Based on interviews with hundreds of managers, activists, government officials, factory workers and workers' representatives, Implementing Codes of Conduct represents the most extensive research conducted to date into the emerging nature of corporate social responsibility and global supply chains. Its objective is to provide useful examples and lessons learned to companies, policy-makers and others interested in implementing their own code of conduct or who are actively involved in this field.

    This book has broad implications for firms that are serious about seeing the social and environmental objectives expressed in their corporate codes become a reality at the supplier level – implications that stretch from the boardroom to the factory floor. The book presents a model that maps a route from the creation of a vision to its implementation at the operational level. Based on research conducted in the sports footwear, apparel and retail sectors, this book provides a detailed account of the approaches currently used by leading brands and retailers and practical suggestions for other companies to follow in addressing social pressures.

    Given an increasingly clear link between corporate social responsibility and profits, this book serves as an invaluable tool in assisting those interested in balancing the complex demands of society and competitive concerns.

    Preface Foreword  1. Overview of the research 2. Review of the environment and content of codes 3. Background and framework of the report 4. Review of the footwear sector 5. Review of the apparel sector 6. Review of the retail sector 7. Implementing specific areas addressed by codes 8. Summary and conclusions  Glossary Appendix 1: International instruments Appendix 2: Interview schedule Appendix 3: Experts’ comments on the interview schedule: suggested additional questions Appendix 4: Multi-stakeholder initiative codes of conduct Bibliography


    Ivanka Mamic

    The materials used in this study are well selected, organised and up to date. The arguments are cogent and the conclusions convincing ... The book provides guidance to companies, unionists, policy makers, academics and others interested in code implementation. - Development and Change, May 2006 |

    | Overwhelmed by the vast array of codes of conduct covering social and environmental behaviour that have emerged over recent years? Uncertain which one is applicable for your company? Then Implementing Codes of Conduct is the book for you. Based on interviews with hundreds of managers, activists, government officials and workers, this 429-page textbook clearly outlines recent initiatives, and more importantly, gives the reader examples and lessons learnt by actual practitioners in the field. A must-read for any practitioner serious about implementing their vision of social responsibility. - Corporate Citizen Briefing, March 2005