In today’s competitive and fast changing global market, it is not only price, quality, and timely delivery of products that are important but also the working and environmental conditions under which the products are produced. Consumers are increasingly becoming more informed and concerned and start boycotting products that they know were produced ignoring the workers’ rights or damaging the environment. Promoting the efficient use of resources through production methods that are efficient in their use of energy and materials, and through taking measures to promote clear air and sustainable waste disposal has been one of Swisscontact's core expertise areas.
Thus protecting the workers’ rights and minimizing the environmental impact throughout the supply chain and communicating such behavior becomes more and more important to gain and strengthen business relationships with all stakeholders from the consumers up to the manufacturers of goods. The concept of respecting workers’ rights and producing environmentally friendly products is known as Social Accountability (SA). Some of the specific areas regulated in these SA standards are child labor, forced labor, working hours, compensation, discrimination, health and safety, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and environment protection.
Complying with SA standards has become a condition for many businesses to enter into a business relationship. With such increased importance, they realize however the lack of knowledge and skills of their compliance staff to practically implement the SA standards at their premises. Moreover recruiting affordable consultants that could support them is also difficult because of lack of such on the local market.
Swisscontact contributes to resource efficiency with the objectives to:
• Develop local resources which are able to support businesses in implementing SA standards and other resource efficient mechanisms;
• Support manufacturers directly to enable them to achieve compliance with SA standards. This benefits their workers, the environment and their future business prospects;
• Develop networks among stakeholders.
Swisscontact has competencies in:
• Training design;
• Development of training material in both local and international languages;
• Training of trainers cum consultants;
• Provision of training to factory management and workers;
• Facilitation of improving of worker-management relationship;
• Factory on site support;
• Provision of hotline support.