International labour standards and trade

Labour Standards and Trade: A Discussion on Decent Work and Sustainable Trade in Philippine Value Chains

A forum organized by International Labour Organization together with the EU-Philippines Business Network and the EU Delegation. It aims to highlight mutual gains of businesses and labour in being part of global value chains that follow international standards.

Background 

The ILO recognizes that Global Supply Chains are complex, diverse and fragmented where challenges impinge on decent work; concrete response to this is outlined in a Programme of Action which includes respect for international labour standards in global supply chains. EU trade policy similarly recognizes the complexity of global value chains and a need to ensure that consumer, investor and multinational corporation products are produced under core labour standards. "Harnessing Globalization" and "Trade for All" highlight the role of the private sector in reinforcing diligence on labour standards across the production chain.

EU action on labour standards encompasses inclusion of core standards in trade agreements, which supports mutual benefits for governments, labourers and corporations. An example of this is the GSP+ which serves as an area of cooperation between various stakeholders; providing opportunity for Philippines to expand its exports and trade while making significant strides in encouraging implementation of core labour standards. In the garments and textiles industry for example, it became a tool to use and promote social dialogue with employers as an industry group.

Similar to their PH counterparts, multinational companies are finding themselves in more open positions in which scrutiny and cross-examination are prevalent. How a company operates, with whom and under what conditions it operates are factors that increasingly form part of consumer awareness. As a result, a projection of a positive image for the company, its values, and its ethics is beneficial. Applying core labour standards also makes good business sense as it increases productivity and reduces the real costs of contracting workers.

The thematic areas that this forum proposes to discuss are on:
  • Best practice of implementation of Core Labour Standards; of Labour in Global Value Chains in the Philippines;
  • Benefits of core standards of labour for business and trade;
  • Relevance of integrated audits and reporting for company's long-term sustainability.

Objective

  1. Discuss the impact of core labour standards on business;
  2. Promote sustainable trade and encourage compliance to core labour standards among value chains;
  3. Promote best practice of core labour standards being integrated into business models for industry players and SMEs

Proposed Forum Format

The event will have three panel discussions. The panelists will each have 3 minutes to present their opening statement, after which the moderator will start the discussion with a question. Each panelist will have an allotted 5 minutes to respond to the moderator's question and present their argument. Only after each panelist is finished answering the question will the moderator entertain rebuttals. Each panelist is allotted two rebuttals, each rebuttal spanning 2 minutes.