Towards fair and sustainable global supply chains: Promoting decent work for invisible workers - Nepal Component

This Japan Government funded project is the second phase of “Way out of Informality in South Asia” (2012-2016). The project aims at promoting approaches that promote decent work at the lower tiers of global supply chains.


The global dispersion of supply chains has led to increased complexity in the way production, raw material, and distribution is structured. Multiple layers of economic actors are now engaged within every supply chain driven by new methods of business restricting and non-standard forms of employment, including sub-contracting. At the lower tiers of global supply chains, work is often subcontracted out to informal enterprises and workers such as home-based and casual workers. These workers face many decent work challenges, including limited or no legal protection and denial of fundamental principles and rights at work. While both women and men are engaged in global supply chains, women are disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs at the lower tiers and are more vulnerable.

The ILO constituents had a General Discussion on 'Decent work in global supply chains' at the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva in June 2016. A resolution submitted at the conference called upon the ILO to develop a programme of action to address decent work in global supply chains through a comprehensive and coordinated framework. This complements the 'Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015' (No. 204), which applies to all workers and economic units in the informal economy, including but not limited to those in subcontracting and supply chains. Further to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the principle of "no one should be left behind," workers at the lower tiers of global supply chains must be given priority to gain access to decent work and to create conditions favorable to the transition from the informal to the formal economy.
Project Objectives

The project will contribute to the development of ethical and sustainable global supply chains where all those engaged in global supply chains especially those at the lower tiers of supply chains such as home-based workers, sub-contractors, and micro, small and medium enterprises in the informal economy enjoy decent work in South Asia.

The immediate objectives of the project are:
  • Improved and effective implementation of policies/regulations to promote decent work for home-based workers and other informal economy workers and units engaged in global supply chains.
  • Strengthened governance to promote decent work and contribute to the development of ethical and sustainable supply chains, especially at the local levels.
  • Improved living and working conditions of home-based workers and other informal economy workers engaged in selected supply chains.
Objectives will contribute to the ILO's agenda of Decent Work for All, Sustainable Development Goals with the principle of "Leaving No One Behind" - in particular, Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Project Strategy

The project will aim at developing successful models through integrated approaches to promote decent work, promote the transition from the informal to the formal economy in selected global supply chains and advocate for improved policies and regulations to promote decent work for those engaged in the lower tiers of global supply chains. The following interventions will be at the core of project strategy:
  1. Generating evidence-based data on employment relationships and working conditions of home-based workers and other actors such as sub-contractors in selected supply chains, sharing knowledge and lessons learned with key stakeholders.
  2. Strengthening the capacities of the key stakeholders (government institutions, employers' and workers' organizations, membership/community-based organization, and other relevant multi-stakeholder boards/committees, etc.) to promote decent work in global supply chains.
  3. Working with various stakeholders and media to develop policies and programmes to promote and protect the rights of home-based workers and other informal economy workers and advocate for their adoption, in fields such as the extension of social protection to home-based workers.
  4. Initiating a community-level intervention to enable decent work.
The ILO Fundamental Conventions will provide key guidance in implementation of the project together with other international labour standards such as, ILO Convention on Home Work, 1996 (No. 177), Recommendation on Home Work, 1996 (No. 184) and Recommendation on Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy, 2015 (No. 204).

Project Beneficiaries

The project targets women home-based workers as the main intended beneficiaries and will also target other actors in the supply chain such as sub-contractors, micro and small enterprises, and suppliers.
The project will be implemented with the participation of the following key stakeholders, who will also benefit from the project interventions:
  1. Government Institutions (Ministry of Labour and Employment, relevant line ministries such as the Ministry of Women and Child, the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, state governments, and other relevant institutions)
  2. Employers' Organizations, brands, and suppliers including:
    1. Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI)
    2. Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN)
    3. Other sectoral employers' associations etc.
  3. Trade Unions and Workers' Organizations:
  4. Other stakeholders working with home-based and informal economy workers:

For further information please contact:

Bharti Birla
Project Manager (Chief Technical Advisor)
ILO DWT for South Asia and CO for India

Nita Neupane
Programme Officer
ILO Country Office for Nepal