ILO and ETI to bring SCORE Training to suppliers of international brands in Guangdong and Shanghai

The ILO Office for China and Mongolia and Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) are cooperating to improve the productivity, competiveness and sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province and Shanghai.

Article | 20 July 2017

Developed as part of ILO’s Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises or “SCORE” programme, the training supports business development service providers to carry out a variety of training workshops. It also provides factory consulting services for participating SMEs and will continue to do so over the next two years of the project.

SCORE Training focuses on developing cooperative working relations resulting in shared benefits for workers, SMEs and international buyers. Its five training modules cover Workplace Cooperation, Quality Management, Clean Production, Human Resource Management, and Occupational Safety and Health.

Each module includes two-days classroom training for managers and workers followed by on-site consultations with industry experts that help to put the training into action in the workplace.
Uniquely, the initiative marks the next stage of the SCORE project whereby SCORE Training is delivered independently through SCORE Certified Trainers in global supply chains.

The SCORE Project will cooperate with ETI to develop a viable and dynamic market place for business development training services that are designed to improve the productivity and working conditions for SMEs in the long run."

Michael Elkin, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO SCORE programme (global)

ETI is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe. Its vision is a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination, and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity.

Furthermore, ETI was one of the first NGOs to define good practice in ethical trade. Its Base Code of labour practice, which is internationally recognised, is based on ILO standards and is adopted by all its corporate members.

ETI members participating in the project and co-sponsoring SCORE Training for suppliers include Boden, Inditex, Matrix, Mothercare, New Look, Orsay, Regatta and White Stuff.

Improving productivity and working conditions

SCORE Training helps SMEs sustain their participation in global supply chains. It supports them as they develop their own solutions to meeting the challenge of the increasingly high standards demanded by international companies.

With its mix of practical training and in-factory consulting services, SCORE Training has a proven track record in other parts of China and seven other countries.

SCORE Training provides constructive expertise to factories and addresses those issues that cannot be resolved through an auditing-only approach. It helps establish bipartite cooperation, which includes worker participation, when seeking improvement solutions. And it places emphasis on establishing sustainable management systems which will continue even after SCORE ends."

ETI members believe in taking responsibility for enhancing the working conditions of the people who make their products, and member companies are committed to ethical trade and expect their suppliers to work towards this goal too."

Gao Yun, Representative of the ETI Office for South East Asia and East Asia

SME’s in international supply chains

SMEs make up 60% of China’s national industrial output and create nearly 80% of jobs. Improved SME competitiveness can therefore contribute to economic and social development and poverty reduction.

However, SMEs tend to have much lower levels of compliance with national labour laws. There is also a greater likelihood of strained industrial relations and inadequate safety and health protection for workers. Such problems are common and reflected in sometimes poor worker-management communication, often limited compliance with labour standards, and issues around excessive working hours and in meeting legal wage rates and benefits. This can lead to lower productivity.

Meanwhile, SMEs are expected to successfully conduct business in a highly competitive global market place. Yet with lower productivity, they struggle to stay in business as they face difficult price competition and high expectations from their customers to offer better working conditions.

That’s why SCORE Training is so important. It helps to create a win/win situation.

Fostering development partnerships

This ILO/ETI initiative would not have been possible without co-funding from the German government.

It is part of the programme run by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). DevelopPPP helps German and European companies conduct business activities in a responsible manner in line with the expectations of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the context of the SCORE initiative, ILO and ETI are also cooperating with SEQUA, one of DevlopPPP’s designated public partners.

Since December 2000, SEQUA has been one of the executing organisations implementing the BMZ’s programme. They receive proposals from companies, provide advice and support, decide the eligibility of a project for co-financing on the basis of BMZ-defined evaluation criteria, determine the amount of public contribution and audit and supervise the implementation of the initiative.

So far, 17 factories have registered for the programme. They will receive training, coaching and consultation services specifically tailored to help them improve their social performance while maintaining business competitiveness.