is a partnership program between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
launched in 2007 after the success of the ILO Better Factories Cambodia
Project. Since its inception, Better Work has activities underway in nine countries worldwide. Seven countries have established programs (Cambodia, Haiti, Jordan, Lesotho, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nicaragua) while the others, Morroco and Bangladesh, are in the planning phase. The program has three components:
- Compliance Assessment Activities in factories: auditors evaluate if the factories are adhering to ILO Core Labor Standards and national labor laws.
- Continuous Improvement: Better Work staff facilitates dialogue between the managers and workers to address their report’s findings and submits regular progress reports.
- Stakeholder engagement: buy-in for the program and activities occurs at all levels, including government, employers, unions and workers, and international buyers.
Better Work is improving the lives of thousands of working people worldwide. For example, over 90% of garment factories in Cambodia now pay their workers their correct wages, including overtime, and allow for maternity and annual leave. Also, Better Work’s goal is to improve the lives of 700,000 people in five years in Vietnam alone.
The program’s sustainable design also sets it apart. While donor countries (including the US) contribute funds to develop and implement these programs, international garment buyers pay for factory audits and related activities. These buyers include big names like GAP, Levi Strauss, and Adidas. Better Work’s goal is to make each program financially sustainable in five to seven years.