ISLAMABAD (ILO News):The 2nd Business Round Table on Promoting Decent Work and Fundamental Rights in Value Chains was organized under the aegis of Child Labour Platform (CLP). The event was organized under the ILO-Stora Enso Partnership that aims to eliminate child labour and promote decent work in supply chains, with a focus on Pakistan.
The meeting provided an opportunity to a diverse stakeholder group to discuss ways of promoting decent work in business supply chains. The meeting was attended by 30 participants representing international and national brands working in Pakistan, as well as those representing supply chains within various industrial sectors, development agencies along with UNIDO and UNICEF.
Representatives from various business concerns shared their initiatives and experience of undertaking efforts to ensure that their supply chains are child labour free and compliant to decent work. Representatives from Telenor, Nestle and Bulleh Shah Packaging shared their initiatives during a panel discussion and highlighted good case examples and practices. The panel also spotlighted practical challenges and constraints including the financial costs associated for such initiatives in a business environment where there was no legal or social compulsion to work with supply chains. Other challenges cited included lack of awareness and capacity constraints faced by business concerns in addressing these issues. The participants also noted that lack of coordination and connectivity with other stakeholders as a major hurdle that limits the chances of leveraging support, sharing experiences and lessons learnt to improve impact.
The participants were also apprised on the global initiatives such as the CLP, a business led initiative that brings together multi-sectoral business to address child and bonded labour. The CLP supports the identification of obstacles to the implementation of the ILO Conventions in supply chains and surrounding communities, identifies practical ways of overcoming these obstacles, and catalyzes collective action. Information and case studies were shared on current public private partnerships comprised of bi-lateral agreements between ILO and business companies and Alliance 8.7. a multi stakeholder group which is poised to take effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2025. Alliance 8.7 is anchored under SDG 8 i.e. Decent Work and Economic Growth and also supports local initiatives aimed at accelerating progress in the area of child and bonded labour.
The discussion was further enriched by a session dedicated to defining a way forward. During this session, participants presented potential solutions to scale up efforts in keeping supply chains decent work compliant and free from child labour. These included:
- Setting up common platforms for experience sharing and coordination among business and other stakeholders
- Capacity building and sensitization of various stakeholders
- Reaching out to media for advocacy and awareness; and
- Policy level engagement with government to incentivize businesses in undertaking initiatives to make supply chains decent work compliant.
Participants also discussed strategies on how to strengthen their network, joint initiatives, experience sharing and the reach to other stakeholders and in particular, government institutions, academia and the media
The first business roundtable was held in July 2017 in Lahore, which recommended the establishment of a network, with assistance of the ILO, to drive change aligned with international labour standards while at the same time paying attention to sustainable businesses.