On 9 December 2013, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), an initiative of the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), celebrated in Shanghai the 10th anniversary of its establishment with the visit of the Director General of the FTA, Mr. Jan Eggert, to the city to share the accomplishments and importance of promoting social compliance globally and in China’s supply chain today. At the event, BSCI announced its strategic alliances with five global professional organisations, and with local members exclusively for China, to help Chinese enterprises build a decent workplace. With the nation’s recent launch of the Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai, BSCI also announced its plan to triple its resources in 2014 to provide more professional training to support Chinese enterprises, in particular SMEs, to increase their capability and catch up with the global market and to best tap the opportunities ahead.
Considering China as the top sourcing country of over 1,000 BSCI participants with €612billion (~RMB5trillion) annual turnover in 2012’s, BSCI has allied with five leading organisations exclusively for China, to form the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC)* that focuses on jointly developing solutions to address cross-cutting labour issues in China. These include driving collaboration of standards and code systems, developing dialogue among global and local stakeholders, and sharing consensus-based strategies for improving industrial relations, labour conditions and business competitiveness. Since 2012, MAC has hosted three meetings in Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou with around 100 business, government and non-government stakeholders presenting and discussing challenges and solutions for addressing key issues including social insurance protection for workers, best practices for health and safety improvement and how to build cleaner and sustainable production.
BSCI will also extend its collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to drive the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) project from the Pearl River Delta area to the Yangtze River Delta area. This will provide sustainable business training and support the capacity building of local trainers, further promoting improved working conditions and socially responsible business practices among SMEs in the fast moving consumer goods supply chain in China.
"We appreciate the support from BSCI Participants and their producers who have worked together towards building a socially responsible global supply chain, especially in China where most of the factories are located. To cope with the evolving needs in China, BSCI appointed the first China representative in 2009. The launch of our Chinese website in 2013 also marks a milestone for enhancing our communications with this vital market," said Mr. Jan Eggert.
According to the 'BSCI Achievement Study' released in June 2013, which was undertaken by the University of St. Gallen, a global saving of US$65million (RMB396million) has been achieved through reducing duplicated audits and sharing of audit reports in the last decade among over a thousand global buyers. Thanks to the great improvements steered by thousands of factory managers in China, BSCI’s statistics shows that China has outperformed other sourcing countries with the share of compliant producers increased from 18% in 2008 to 62% in 2011.
The Achievement Study also shows that BSCI has made it possible for businesses to better control their supply chains, enabling companies to gain in transparency and in trust, notably when it comes to sourcing from China.
“As a founding member of BSCI, we are happy to see our Chinese producers having made encouraging progress along the journey towards a socially responsible supply chain, with the support by the BSCI platform & intelligent tools,” said Ms. Sherry Yuan, CSR & Quality Manager of AB Lindex, Stockmann Group, the second largest fashion retail chain in Sweden. “With our first flagship store in China opening next year, we look forward to extending our sustainable fashion benefits to our Chinese customers by leveraging on our success achieved in Sweden.”
“BSCI has made substantial advances in fostering more ethical and sustainable global supply chains since its establishment, but there are still many challenges ahead. Looking forward, we will continue our efforts toward ensuring free trade and sustainable supply chains throughout the world, and further extend our focus to environmental protection,” added Mr. Jan Eggert. “We will reinforce the three pillars in the BSCI system (monitoring, empowering and engaging) by enhancing its services, providing more professional training, expanding its partner network and engaging in more collaborations with more social compliance stakeholders in China for another successful decade amid the rapidly evolving market development.”
*The 6 founding partners of MAC: 1) BSCI, 2) China National Textile and Apparel Council, 3) Social Accountability International, 4) Solidaridad, 5) Sedex and 6) Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production