From voluntary initiatives to legal obligations: Responsible business and decent work in global supply chains

The RSCA held a training to help Chulalongkorn University law students understand the labour dimensions of complex global supply chains

Article | 18 September 2020
Bangkok (ILO News) - LLM students (Master degree in Laws) of the "Advanced Labor Law" were introduced to responsible business conduct for sustainable enterprises and supply chains at a seminar held in conjunction with Chulalongkorn University. Representatives of the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme focused their training on the ILO Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and Corporate Social Responsibility (MNE Declaration), a key reference point for responsible business.

Training began with consideration of the main concepts in responsible business for sustainable enterprises and responsible supply chains. As an example, labour issues in the fishing sector in Thailand was used to examine the impact of globalization and trade, as well as how the country and businesses adapted to make changes and internalize responsible business in the sectors operations.

The growing trend of national legislations that requires business to conduct due diligence and reporting on labour rights, especially on forced labour and child labour, also showed that many previously voluntary initiatives are becoming matters of law – highly relevant to this cohort.

The RSCA also led a group discussion among students on challenges and opportunities companies face in terms of labour dimension of responsible business especially in the context of technological change, trade and COVID 19.

Student Xiangyi Chen could saw value in the training. “I think this is an opportunity for businesses to be more socially responsible, in addition to seeking economic profit. Social responsibility is not just about labour but it can be related to trades issues and involve the whole supply chains,” she said. “It is better for students or potential professional working in this area to know this ahead before they start working,” she added.