Posted on: 2nd May 2013
On Wednesday 1st May, Impactt held the second event in our series of evening seminars; a lively debate and discussion on how to really engage with and move forward with ethical trade in China. After agreement that China is still a vital source of supply for many retailers and brands, the evening kicked off with a presentation by Impactt Director Rosey Hurst on the latest trends and challenges in China supply chains.
Attended by a broad range of brands, retailers, NGOs and industry bodies, the evening was an opportunity for open and frank discussion as well as a sounding board for new ideas. We had two fantastic speakers – David Halford Head of Ethical Sourcing for BBC Worldwide and our own Dionne Harrison who spent four years heading up our China team and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
Both speakers gave two very different but very interesting approaches on successful models for improving labour standards. David Halford gave a great insight into how BBC Worldwide run their own ethical trade programme and the key opportunities and challenges they face in their China supply base. Key messages included the importance of transparency and engaging with your suppliers.
Dionne Harrison gave a fascinating insight into the motivations, aspirations and concerns of different types of workers in China. She also spoke about the challenges faced by factories in managing an increasingly diverse workforce and retaining workers in a shrinking labour pool.
She introduced Impactt’s BBW (Benefits for Businesses and Workers) model – an innovative approach that delivers sustainable affordable training – which is being launched in China this summer. The approach helps transform factories – delivering benefits to workers through better quality jobs whilst increasing efficiency and competitiveness – enabling sites to address increasing commercial challenges.
Some great ‘take-homes’ from the night included:
- Be aware of the limitations of some audits to provide a complete picture of conditions at a site
- Create an open dialogue with suppliers to deliver transparency
- Maintain longer relationships with factories to really tackle labour challenges
- If hours are high – identify which department has highest hours and start there
- Get factories to articulate practical steps to address hours which can easily be monitored
- Ensure factories communicate changes in process to workers quickly and clearly
- Understand impact of buying practices in aggravating poor labour practices – try and give factories the best chance of preparing for your order but…
- Ensure this isn’t an alternative for helping suppliers improve their own practices
- Collaborate with agents and suppliers to bring real benefits
For more information on BBW China please contact Rosey@impacttlimited.com
If you have a topic you’d like us to discuss in a seminar, please contact Alex@impacttlimited.com