Responsible supply chains

Opening address at the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Training for Industry Associations

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines, delivered by Mr Fredy Guayacan, Programme Manager at the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Training for Industry Associations, Tagaytay City, Philippines, 8 October 2019

Statement | Tagaytay City, Philippines | 08 October 2019
  • Mr Roland Moya, Director-General of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines
  • Representatives from various industry associations,
  • Officers and members of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines,
  • Partners and distinguished guests,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
I am glad to be with you today to open this training on Corporate Social Responsibility.

Industry associations and business leaders play a key role to ensure responsible business conduct and corporate social responsibility.

Thank you for being part of this two-day training. Let me cite two major reasons why this activity is important.

First, strengthening your knowledge and understanding on corporate social responsibility/responsible business conduct is vital to your being the CSR focal points in your respective industry associations.
This is because you play a critical role in promoting values, CSR/RBC standards and influencing business practices among your member enterprises.

Second, you as the CSR focal points can create a rippling effect by echoing to the members of your respective industry associations how they can adhere to the principles of the MNE Declaration or in full title – The ILO Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy. A copy of the MNE Training Manual is included in your training kit.

The MNE Declaration offers guidelines to MNEs and national enterprises, governments, employers and workers’ organizations on how they can make positive contribution to the country’s social and economic development. It promotes a climate that is conducive to decent work, economic growth and sustainable development. Recommendations in the MNE Declaration are rooted in international labour standards. Adherence of enterprise to the MNE Declaration principles is essential particularly in the context of foreign direct investment and trade and the use of the global supply chains.

Global supply chains contribute significantly to economic growth, job creation, entrepreneurship and poverty reduction. At the same time, global supply chains confront challenges on production, and issues related to labour rights, environment and human rights.

These challenges must be addressed as apart from social reasons, current policies on free trade require the benefitting countries’ compliance with international standards on labour, human rights and the environment.

As an example, the European Trade Policy Strategy integrates EU‘s commitment to promote human rights, decent work and sustainable development. This strategy is embedded in the General System of Preference (GSP) + where special incentive arrangement of full removal tariffs for sustainable development and good governance are provided by the EU.

The GSP+ covers vulnerable low and lower-middle income countries that implement 27 international conventions related to human rights, labour rights, protection of the environment and good governance. Under GSP+, the Philippines is able to export over 6,000 duty-free products to Europe. In return, the country should implement 27 international conventions on labour welfare, human rights, good governance and environmental protection to keep this preferential market access.

To support this, businesses should be aware of the working conditions in their supply chain where they get their raw or processed goods and products. Their sources or suppliers could be hiring child labour or produced by workers in unhealthy and unfavourable working conditions.

The year 2019 marks the ILO Centenary or 100th anniversary. The Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work draws inspiration from the ILO’s founding principles of advancing social justice and promoting decent work.

This is crucial to shape a future of decent work for all through a human-centred approach that focuses on increasing investments in people’s capabilities, in institutions of work, and in decent and sustainable work.

Thus, we need to create conditions in which responsible business can flourish, because that is how we deliver decent work for all. This activity is very much supportive of it. Promoting CSR/RBC is not simple. It would require solid awareness as to what responsible business practices is all about and joint efforts among different sectors for greater compliance and sustainability.

At the level of the enterprises, businesses should be engaged in capacity building and dialogues on CSR/RBC to promote policy coherence, collaboration and transparency and in the governance of their operations and their supply chains.

We look forward to your strong and continued support even after this training for responsible businesses. It is by working together that we can achieve sustainable and inclusive growth through decent work and responsible business conduct.

Thank you!