Social compliance means that the factory meets its social obligation concerning working conditions, worker’s health insurance and labor practices. Social compliance audits investigate factories to make sure they are consistently within an ethical framework of standards. Most large global importers now require manufacturers to ensure ethical working conditions are maintained throughout their supply chains.
In this article, we discuss a few of the benefits to importers that conduct social compliance audits, aside from helping to protect factory workers from unsafe working conditions.
Reducing legal problems
Social compliance audits help protect importers from becoming involved in any scandals or tragedies involving questionable working conditions within their supply chain. For instance, most social compliance frameworks prohibit any use of child labor, obliging the factory to meet the national and local laws for child labor. Factories undergoing an audit need to verify ID information for all of workers and keep and maintain records. Following such rules and laws helps prevent unethical child labor and enforces compliance with local laws.
Better public reputation and image
Many big brands and retailers take pride in their social compliance standards and promote them on their website, as well as in their marketing materials. In 2012 there was a devastating fire inside the Tazreen Fashion factory where Walmart clothing was produced. Walmart’s reputation took a big hit after that event, which associated the brand with having unsafe conditions for their workers and placing blame on them for their negligence. However, in the past couple of years, Walmart has redeemed itself somewhat by adjusting its social compliance framework. They made modifications and have added strict fire safety regulations in order to prevent future tragedies from occurring. In fact, today importers that distribute to Walmart’s retail stores are subject to Walmart’s own social compliance standards. These importers could be subject to a formal audit by Walmart to ensure their suppliers are compliant.
Generally speaking, people want to see big brands and retailers show that they’re socially responsible and care about their employees, from the production workers on the factory floor on up. Social responsibility has now permeated the mindset of consumers as well. From the perspective of legal issues and public relations, it is beneficial for importers to make sure the factories they are involved with are socially and legally responsible by carrying out social compliance audits