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About the New Conversations Project

The New Conversations Project (NCP) is dedicated to independent research and action that measurably improves labor conditions in global supply chains.

Traditional methods of labor standards improvement have been largely ineffective. Public regulation in countries that produce low-cost, labor-intensive products for global corporations and private regulation approaches—built around codes of conduct and auditing by global corporations—have all failed to significantly improve workers’ lives. Research on labor standards in global supply chains over the last decade, especially in the apparel and footwear industries, shows relatively little improvement on core labor standards such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, or in measures such as wages, hours of work and safety and health.

Despite calls for change, the old conversations between workers, employers, brands and governments have changed little. Actors in need of new approaches find themselves awash in data, bombarded with pilot projects and processes, and left reliant primarily on anecdotes to determine what does or does not work. And looming beyond these conversations are coming changes in technology, environment, migration, public health, and politics that have the power to alter the way work along global supply chains is done.

To diagnose these critical problems, NCP conducts extensive field research and organizes new data from global companies, multistakeholder initiatives and other actors. The Project then pulls together fragmented constituencies—brands, suppliers, unions, civil society, governments, investors—for evidence-based conversations and decisions. The goal is a new generation of strategies that the evidence says can produce better outcomes for large numbers of workers.