Human Rights Watch recommends ACT as key feature of effective due diligence

“Initiatives like ACT and Fair Wear Foundation’s Living Wage program are supporting the development of models to calculate labor costs to help ensure that brands assume their fair share of responsibility for social and labor compliance costs at the factory level.”

“Paying for a bus ticket and expecting to fly”: this is the title of a new report by Human Rights Watch calling on brands to invest in human rights due diligence on purchasing practices and join collective initiatives like ACT.

Human Rights Watch highlights that brand purchasing practices can incentivize suppliers to drive down working conditions and engage in unauthorized sub-contracting, risking to directly undercut brands’ own efforts towards sustainable supply chains.

Poor forecasting, high deviation from projected order volumes and prices that do not adequately factor in labour costs are identified as some of the key purchasing practices driving low wages and bad working conditions in factories.

“Recommendations to all Apparel brands: […] Join initiatives that combine collective brand reform on purchasing practices with sectoral collective bargaining like the Action, Collaboration, and Transformation (ACT).”

In their Global Purchasing Practices Commitments, ACT member brands have among other committed to purchasing prices that include wages as itemised costs, fair terms of payment and better planning and forecasting.

In short video interviews, ACT members H&M, C&A and IndustriALL Global Union explain the importance of purchasing practices and what ACT member brands are doing to ensure that their purchasing practices facilitate the payment of a living wage as per the ACT Memorandum of Understanding.

The Human Rights Watch report also calls on governments to “develop legislation requiring mandatory global supply chain human rights due diligence by companies, including their sourcing and purchasing practices” and “ensure that all public procurement integrates mandatory human rights due diligence measures, including on sourcing and purchasing practices.”

At a recent high-level event organized by ACT member Tchibo, Jenny Holdcroft, Assistant General-Secretary of IndustriALL and Thomas Linemayr, CEO of Tchibo, emphasized the importance of supply chain due diligence legislation that would ensure a level playing field for brands.

Picture: ©Oscar F. Hevia licenced under the CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0.