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New Conversations Project

Dignity factory workers producing shirts for overseas clients, in Accra, Ghana

Sustainable Labor Practices in Global Supply Chains

If our goal is supply chain labor relations and business practices that end abusive labor practices, what do private and public regulation systems need to look like in the 21st century?

Papers and Work in Progress

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Research on “Better Work” Cambodia

The Better Work program offers an innovative alternative to improving working conditions in developing country apparel factories.  By combining stakeholder involvement, detailed assessments, and supportive services, the Better Work program has been associated with improvements in aggregate working conditions. In this project, the relationship between participation in Better Work and measures of factory-level compliance is examined. In addition the relationship between various aspects of better work and worker perceptions of working conditions is examined.

Read a 2-page overview here.

Read the whole paper here.

Social Sustainability in Global Supply Chains: An Empirical Investigation of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

Sarosh Kuruvilla and Chunyun Li

In this article, we seek empirical answers to two research questions: a) What are the typical violations of FOA and CB rights in global supply chains that must be corrected for workers to exercise their voice? And b) Does freedom of association and collective bargaining, improve the social sustainability performance of the suppliers in global supply chains? We answer these questions by analyzing a variety of data from multiple organizations in the global supply chain eco-system, namely the Fairwear Foundation and the Better Work program, a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the International Labor Organization and International Finance Corporation of the World Bank. Our analysis shows that when workers in the supply chain can exercise their core labor rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining, the social performance of suppliers improves substantially. Our findings incontrovertibly suggest that freedom of association and collective bargaining are “surefire” methods to improve social sustainability in global supply chains.

Read the paper here.

What Makes a Decent Factory?

Until recently, there has been a lack of data that allowed researchers to distinguish between highly compliant factories and non-compliant ones. Using data from the supply chain of a large retailer, as well as data from other sources, the aim of this project is to examine the drivers behind highly compliant factories, why they differ from non-compliant factories and in what ways. The research for this project is ongoing and carried out by Sarosh Kuruvilla and Jinsun Bae.