The G7 group of leading industrial nations has pledged to “strive for better application” of labour, social and environmental standards in global supply chains.
In a joint declaration released following the summit in Germany, which took place on Sunday and Monday, leaders including David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Barack Obama said they recognised “the joint responsibility of governments and business to foster sustainable supply chains and encourage best practices”.
“Unsafe and poor working conditions lead to significant social and economic losses and are linked to environmental damage,” said the statement. “Given our prominent share in the globalisation process, G7 countries have an important role to play in promoting labour rights, decent working conditions and environmental protection in global supply chains.”
The document said G7 nations would focus on standards set by the UN, OECD and the International Labour Organization (ILO) and “encourage enterprises active or headquartered in our countries to implement due diligence procedures regarding their supply chains”.
“We will take action to promote better working conditions by increasing transparency, promoting identification and prevention of risks and strengthening complaint mechanisms," said the statement.
The G7 will “strengthen multi-stakeholder initiatives in our countries and in partner countries” to build upon “good practices learned from the Rana Plaza aftermath”. It will support a “vision zero fund”, which will be established in partnership with the ILO to cut workplace-related deaths. Recipients of the money will be limited to those who “commit themselves to prevention measures and the implementation of labour, social, environmental and safety standards”.
The declaration said it welcomed initiatives, such as apps, to help consumers and buyers validate the claims of suppliers.
“To promote safe and sustainable supply chains, we will increase our support to help SMEs develop a common understanding of due diligence and responsible supply chain management,” said the G7.
“We welcome initiatives to promote the establishment of appropriate, impartial tools to help consumers and public procurers in our countries compare information on the validity and credibility of social and environmental product labels.”