EU, ILO, OECD Project

Responsible Supply Chains in Asia - Approach and Objectives

The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme aims to further sustainable and inclusive economic, social and environmental progress by integrating responsible business practices into the operations of multinational companies and their supply chains. Active in selected industrial sectors in six Asian countries, it takes a multifaceted approach with the aim of promoting respect for human rights, and labour and environmental standards.

At a glance


China, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam.

The project is a partnership between the European Union (EU), the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) and the ILO. It will establish alliances with relevant national stakeholders in government, business, workers representatives, academic institutions, Civil Society Organizations and the international community.

Co-funded by  European Union through the Partnership Instrument, with co-funding from the ILO.

December 2017 – December 2020

Target groups
Primary: National Governments; European and Asian MNE’s connected to the EU operating in or having suppliers in the six countries; Asian SME’s in supply chains, Employer’s and Workers’ Organizations; Business Membership Organizations (BMOs) government institutions Civil Society Organizations, Media and CSR related organisations.

Women and men working in enterprises operating in the six target countries, including vulnerable groups such as migrants, women and youth; European and Asian consumers;
Supply chain businesses with improved market access, better risk management systems and greater productivity and competitiveness.

About the programme

Global supply chains are an integral feature of international production, trade and investment, and have contributed greatly to global economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction. Asian economies have played a particularly dynamic role in developing global supply chains.

Multinational companies can have a significant positive role in progress on national and international environmental and social challenges. The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia project aims to strengthen the international level playing field for responsible businesses while enhancing market access opportunities. Through providing practical steps, including by showcasing examples of good practice, it will help investors and businesses have a better understanding of socially responsible business practices.  Understanding these practices will assist companies and governments to improve performance on environmental standards and respect for human rights, including labour rights, of workers in supply chains.

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

Project approach

The overarching objective of the project is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by ensuring that investors and businesses have a better understanding and practical examples of responsible behaviour.
Through consultation with stakeholders and research, the programme has identified targeted industrial sectors in each country as priorities. Those sectors are, China: Electronics, Textiles; Japan: Electronics, Vehicle parts; Myanmar: Seafood, Agriculture; Philippines: Agriculture (Food); Thailand: Agriculture, Vehicle parts; and Vietnam: Wood Processing Seafood/Aquaculture Textiles.
The project is engaged in four broad areas of activity in the six countries:
  • Research – in collaboration with local academic institutions, international organisations and NGO’s on the ground, the programme will build a common knowledge base to record and analyse current practices in business, and formulate and distribute models of good practice to industry, unions and government to spark dialogue and influence policy.
  • Outreach – building on consultations with governments, businesses and workers representatives the programme holds events such as conferences and technical seminars to share good practices with companies and businesses involved to promote the adherence to international labour standards and internationally agreed CSR/RBC principles in supply chains. It’s also working with the international community to mutually support action and positive change in the take up of CSR.
  • Policy Advocacy – through the promotion of dialogue at different levels (national, regional/provincial, sectoral and at the enterprise level) the project will foster coordination and collaboration to harness the benefits of FDI and MNE operations for the creation of more and better jobs. This dialogue with relevant Ministries and other stakeholders is crucial to building the right policy framework to support responsible business conduct.
  • Training – the project is implementing training courses to strengthen the institutional and operational capacities of the government, workers’ and employers’ organizations as well as business in applying responsible business principles to all levels of their supply chain.

Expected results

At the end of the project’s duration it will have made significant progress in achieving the following expected results:
  • Increased awareness and strengthened capacity of all relevant actors and in particular businesses and public authorities in the region in relation to CSR/RBC;
  • Enhanced development and dissemination of CSR/RBC approaches and initiatives (including best practices, case studies, tools, lessons learned and documentation) on CSR/RBC in line with internationally agreed principles and guidelines;
  • Improved coherence on CSR/RBC between the EU and Asia, in line with relevant internationally agreed principles and guidelines;
  • Developed and/or reinforced existing multi-stakeholder partnerships, including at sectoral level and sound industrial relations in line with internationally agreed principles and guidelines on CSR/RBC;
  • Strengthened and sustained information exchange involving all relevant stakeholders in relation to internationally agreed CSR/RBC principles and guidelines; and,
  • Enhanced contributions of businesses operating in Asia to environmental protection, decent working conditions, and the respect of human rights and strengthened coherence with relevant regulatory frameworks.
Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Business Practices (RBC) are ways in which enterprises consider the impact of their operations on society. CSR and RBC are voluntary, enterprise-driven initiatives which refer to activities that are considered to exceed simple compliance with the law. Through them, firms affirm their principles and values through their internal and external methods and processes. CSR is an integral part of corporate management. It helps manages risks and opens access to markets.