Highlights of MSN's engagement work from our 2011 Annual Report.
A new study co-authored by the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN - Canada), the Honduran Independent Monitoring Team (EMIH), and Professionals for Corporate Social Auditing (PASE - Nicaragua) challenges the conventional wisdom that competing on the basis of cheap labour is the only option for poor garment producing countries.
Leading U.S. apparel brands are urging the Guatemalan government to resolve the long-pending DR-CAFTA labour complaint filed by six Guatemalan unions and the AFL-CIO four years ago.
Can CSR ratings help improve labour practices in global supply chains?, a new paper published by the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) and the Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research (PODER), examines the potential of rating systems to drive improvements in supply chain labour practices. Through interviews with CSR experts, representatives from companies like Levi's, Gap and others that have been rated on supply chain labour issues, labour rights advocacy groups, and rating system developers, the paper highlights some key challenges facing rating systems and how some rating systems have tried to overcome, or at least minimize, those challenges.
Wal-Mart Mexico and Central America (Walmex) has taken some positive steps in its recently published 2010 Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development Report (CSR Report) but the company continues to fall short in addressing serious labour rights issues. If Walmex is genuinely committed to improving its CSR programs and public reporting, the company needs to go beyond the small, though laudable, reporting advancements it has made in 2010 and tackle the difficult and pressing issues being raised by civil society stakeholders.
A new report by MSN and Red Puentes Mexico examining Wal-Mart Mexico's (Walmex) CSR reporting, finds weaknesses in the company's reporting and practices, particularly in the areas of labour rights and the environment. "Walmex needs to better address underlying policy issues such as the presence of protection contracts in most of its retail outlets, its treatment of over 23,000 "volunteer" youth baggers and the lack of consultation with civil society stakeholders on social and environmental issues," says Beatriz Lujan, of the Authentic Labour Front, a member organization of Red Puentes Mexico.
Part of MSN's work in Freedom of Association has focused on engaging international brands. Our strategy has been to leverage brand pressure on suppliers to achieve greater respect and a more positive climate for freedom of association in their Mexican supply chains.
To this end MSN has developed a Freedom of Association in Mexico Tool Kit, which sets out how brands can strengthen their FOA policies, auditing procedures and corrective action plans, as well as communication with vendors, suppliers and licensees on those policies and expectations.