Background information on the ILO and global supply chains

In 2013, the ILO Governing Body, motivated by concerns regarding the dynamics of production and employment relations in some global supply chains, chose to place global supply chains on the agenda of the International Labour Conference.

105th Session of the ILC

In 2016, the International Labour Conference held a general discussion on decent work in global supply chains, and adopted the Resolution on Decent work in global supply chains. The Resolution highlighted the complexity and promise of achieving decent work in global supply chains, and directed the Office to develop a dedicated programme of action on the topic.

  1. Report IV: Decent work in global supply chains, submitted to the Conference

  2. Report of the Committee on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains: Resolution and conclusions submitted for adoption by the Conference

  3. Resolution concerning decent work in global supply chains

Governing Body decisions

The Resolution concerning Decent work in global supply chains formed the basis for the development of a dedicated Programme of action, which the ILO Governing Body endorsed during its 328th session. The Programme of action sets the priorities for the Office’s work on global supply chains through 2021. It also serves as an internal coordination mechanism. At its 341st session in March 2021, the Governing Body directed the Office to take additional steps aimed at supporting development of a comprehensive strategy. 

  1. Decision concerning the update on the report of the Technical Meeting on Achieving Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

  2. Revised and consolidated programme of action

  3. Revised programme of action and activity matrix

  4. Mid-term report on the implementation of the programme of action

Specific meetings

The Programme of Action foresaw three dedicated Meetings to assess salient issues related to decent work in global supply chains.

  1. Technical Meeting on Achieving Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

    25 - 28 February 2020

  2. Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Cross-border Social Dialogue

    12 - 15 February 2019

  3. Tripartite Meeting of Experts to identify possible action to promote decent work and protection of fundamental principles and rights at work for workers in export processing zones (EPZs)

    21 - 23 November 2017

Standards and instruments

International labour standards cover all aspects of work – whether in production for GSCs or not. The eight fundamental Conventions and the four governance (or priority) Conventions all apply to work. The same is true of standards relating to wages, working time, OSH and social security – all areas where challenges have been identified in the context of production for GSCs. While all standards are meant to apply in practice to employers and workers, including those engaged in production for GSCs, they are not designed specifically for that context. The MNE Declaration is an expression of tripartite, global consensus on how to address the global challenges that arise from the prominent role of multinational enterprises in globalization, including in the context of GSCs.

  1. ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, 2019

  2. ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization

  3. ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up

  4. Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) - 5th Edition (2017)