United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Global Supplier Development: Insights from the global garment industry

Jan Vang*, Miguel Malek Maalouf, Peter Hasle


Publikation: Kapitel i bog/rapport/konference-proceedingKapitel i bogForskningpeer review


Global buyers have long been implicated in occupational health and safety (OHS) incidents in the Global South, and the garment industry is particularly infamous for its accidents, with the Rana Plaza incident as the most well known. All countries have committed to the UN Sustainability Development Goals. Global buyers have also committed to the SDGs yet are often criticized for not being fully engaged. This has put pressure on them to make sure that their suppliers provide decent jobs (SDG 8) with acceptable OHS. So means there are good reasons to assess whether global buyers in the garment industry will help global suppliers achieve a healthy and safe work environment (SDG target 8.8). This chapter lays out a set of propositions focusing on how global buyers approach their pursuit of SDG 8. We view the global garment industry as a critical case to assess because it epitomizes the challenges pertaining to decent work in global production systems. The propositions are based on both the literature and in-depth field studies conducted among suppliers from Bangladesh and Myanmar. The field studies investigated buyer-supplier relations and OHS and productivity in more than 50 garment companies by carrying out Lean-OHS interventions in 12 global garment suppliers in Bangladesh and in 5 suppliers in Myanmar. We show how offshore-outsourcing strategies have pronounced negative impacts on the ability of global buyers to implement direct supplier OHS and productivity development programmes and therefore on their ability to achieve the SDGs. The typical buyer does not engage in direct supplier development but relies on other mechanisms, such as market pressure, compliance-based audits, and certification programmes. Our findings also indicate that despite the commitment to the SDGs, buyer organizations have a hierarchy that privileges productivity (and quality) activities over OHS activities.

TitelGlobalization, Human Rights and Populism : Reimagining People, Power and Places
RedaktørerA. Akande
ISBN (Trykt)978-3-031-17202-1
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-3-031-17203-8
StatusUdgivet - 2023


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