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Worker-Driven Social Responsibility: A New Model for Eliminating Risk of Worker Abuse

10:10 AM  -  11:10 AM, Wednesday, May 25, 2016  |  Room 7

Would you like a way to be certain the apparel, electronics, or food products your organization buys are free of worker and human rights abuses? Have you looked at traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) solutions for auditing and monitoring supply chains only to realize they are too ineffective to offer your organization genuine protection against these risks? Would you like to learn about a new, more reliable, and cost-effective model?

By implementing the Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) model in the United States, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) transformed the Florida tomato fields from a hotbed of modern slavery to one of the best places to work in North American agriculture. Winning binding agreements from tomato growers and key retailers, and creating a system that puts workers at the center of monitoring abuses and enforcing remedies, has enabled CIW to make basic human rights a reality in the fields while decreasing the supply chain risks for the growers and retailers.

At the same time, in the international sphere, the Bangladesh Accord on Building and Fire Safety has demonstrated the power of the same principles to address the deadly safety risks faced by workers in the Bangladeshi apparel sector. Two hundred apparel brands and retailers have committed, as part of the Accord, to both require and fund the changes necessary to ensure that the two million workers who produce their clothing in Bangladesh are working in safe conditions.

In this panel, representatives of the CIW, the Worker Rights Consortium, and the Solidarity Center will explain the key elements of the Worker-Driven Social Responsibility model and what sets it apart from conventional Corporate Social Responsibility. WSR is not yet available in all supply chains or all parts of the world, but procurement professionals can play a key role in pressing for the spread of this model to the supply chains from which they buy. Come learn how you can help spread WSR and truly reduce the risks your organization faces.