China is experiencing a rapid transformation of its labour market as it moves from a system of central economic planning to a more open, market oriented economy. This transformation has thrown up many challenges including an evident need to build local capacity within its enterprises, and develop its labour market regulatory framework to meet changing circumstances. As one of the most traditional industries in China, the textile industry is experiencing substantial pressure to address these challenges and specifically how to incorporate labour-related and environmental standards into its core business operations.
Under the auspices of Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Corporate Social Responsibility in the Chinese Textile Industry aims to facilitate sustainable value growth of the Chinese textile industry by promoting Corporate Social Responsibility, by way of enabling textile-producing enterprises to adopt good management, labour and environmental practices. The strategy focuses on the development and pilot testing of the comprehensive training and advisory support services for managers and workers in selected enterprises, verifying the validity of the approach through action research. The results of the project would be replicable in the textile industry and beyond in China.
The ILO and the UNIDO integrate and apply their complimentary expertise and resources to develop a comprehensive and integrated programme to address the unique challenges faced by the Chinese textile industry. At the same time, the project serves the purpose of integrating ILO's and UNIDO's approaches to enterprise competitiveness improvement with their respective competencies in the labour, industrial and environmental domains.
Meanwhile, the project will be partnering with the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC). CNTAC is the national federation of all textile-related industries, and is a non-profit organization formed on a voluntary basis, whose aim is to provide services in the modernization of China's textile industry. Through CNTAC, the project will have direct access to the enterprises for conducting pilot activities. The Responsible Supply Chain Association (RSCA) under the CNTAC will play a key role in developing technical tools and implementation know-how through the project and building its own capacity to expand the CSR practices in the whole textile industry and contribute to other industries by supplying its knowledge base as well.
The project will support the creation of a viable industry-wide framework for high quality business management (in labour-management cooperation, productivity and quality up-grading, environment, human resources management, working conditions and occupational safety and health) for a sustainable development of the Chinese textile industry.
Ultimate beneficiaries - These are women and men who work in the export-orientated enterprises (and their subcontractors) in China’s textiles industry, whose employment and conditions of work will have been improved.
Direct beneficiaries - These are the management and staff of the projects partner organizations (government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and management development trainers/consultants) who will be trained and resourced by the project to provide the employment and enterprise improvement monitoring and improvement services.
Through establishing mechanisms for joint problem solving, the project helps enterprises identify areas of improvement and design action plans. The project emphasizes promoting good labour and environmental standards and practices, meanwhile, building the capacities and capabilities of CNTAC to deliver comprehensive and integrated training/advisory and information services to enterprises that wish to voluntarily implement labour and environmental upgrading programmes.
The project is designed for small and medium sized enterprises from the textile sector and consists of two models:
Model A- Comprehensive Training and Coaching Upgrading programme - 5 enterprises in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces selected for 6-month improvement circle; and
Model B- Intensive Training and Coaching Upgrading programme - 20 enterprises in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces selected for 6-month improvement circle. These two models share the same training contents but delivery mechanisms are tailored to specific needs of various enterprises. Nevertheless, enterprises either of Model A or B, equal participation and representativeness of workers and management is required and guaranteed throughout the project.
The training consists of 5 modules:
- Workplace cooperation - how to establish mechanisms for workplace cooperation;
- Quality and productivity - improvement of quality and productivity which aims to benefit enterprises economic development;
- Environmental management - introducing environmental techniques and cleaner production methods and promoting establishment of environmental management system;
- Workplace protection - health and safety issues - how to identify and minimize risks to workers and factories; and
- Human resources management - how to strengthen workplace relations between workers and management and how to establish sustainable improvement mechanism.