EU, ILO, OECD Project

Responsible Supply Chains in Asia - China

The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme aims to promote responsible business practices into the operations of multinational companies and their supply chains. Active in six Asian countries, the programme in China is working to enhance respect for labour rights and environmental standards among multinational enterprises with supply chains in the electronics and textiles sectors. This project is co-funded by the European Union and the ILO under the EU’s Partnership Instrument.

About the programme

The responsible supply chains in Asia project targets the electronics and textiles sectors in China. Together they account for high numbers of workers in the country and have strong links with EU trading partners and with other Asian countries.

The project's activities aim, in part, to increase government and private sector understanding of the nature and potential benefits of responsible business conduct in the area of labour rights and environmental standards. Activities will take place at the national and provincial level.

These activities include a research component which aims to produce an updated mapping of relevant policies, practices and institutions to lay a solid foundation for the design and implementation of interventions. Outreach activities to provide a platform for dialogue among various stakeholders allowing the sharing of experience and peer learning. The policy advocacy component will address labour issues in supply chains through providing guidance to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) and All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Training courses to strengthen the institutional and operational capacities of these stakeholders will help them transfer their skills to business to implement responsible business principles to all levels of their supply chain.

Principles and guidelines

As a platform for this work, the project is based on internationally agreed principles and guidelines on corporate social responsibility, principally the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO’s Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy.

Expected Outcomes

Using the above internationally agreed principles and guidelines to inform and underpin its engagement in China, the project will:

• Boost awareness and understanding of CSR/RBC, particularly among policy makers in government and business, through the exchange of information and the dissemination of the latest research, case studies and data;

• Improve coherence between the EU and China on CSR/RBC policies and practice;

• Develop and/or reinforce multi-stakeholder partnerships, including at a sectoral level, to implement sound industrial relations and lift the contributions of businesses operating in China to environmental protection, decent working conditions, and the respect of human rights.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) are ways in which enterprises consider the impact of their operations on society. They are rooted in the UN principle that businesses have a responsibility to uphold and protect human and labour rights, even in environments where there are gaps in the relevant national law. Through CSR and RBC, firms affirm their principles and values in their internal and external methods and processes. The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme believes that CSR/RBC are an integral part of corporate management that can help businesses manage risk, promote inclusive growth and ensure decent work in international supply chains.

For more about the programme’s activities, please visit our regional programme overview.