2021 journal article
Establishing Operational Norms for Labor Rights Standards Implementation in Low-Cost Apparel Production
Low-cost production has driven many global apparel brands and retailers to source apparel from less developed countries. However, low-cost apparel production is often accompanied by labor rights violations. A persistent pattern of labor rights violations exists in the global apparel supply chains, including minimum wage violations, unpaid overtime, forced overtime, worker abuse, restricting workers' unions, and many other violations. Research suggests that low-cost pressures restrict factory level resources, which often leads to labor rights violations in global apparel supply chains. To date, academics and practitioners remain unaware of the actual cost of implementing labor rights standards in factories. We sought to establish a baseline taxonomy of the fundamental cost-bearing activities required to provide a safe and ethical factory workplace. A Delphi survey was adopted to capture data from an expert group of experienced factory compliance auditors in Asian apparel production. The research provides practical insights for factory adoption of actions that can improve enforcement of multiple labor standards, as well as specific actions required to enforce unique requirements that arose in our analysis.