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Making ‘Decent Work’ a habit in global supply chains - Colleagues in warehouse
  • Case Study
    Supply Chain

Improving working hours in global supply chains

When a global supply chain struggled to get its supplier to comply with decent working hours, our partnership began.

“BSI provided ideas, support, and guidance to create workplace improvements for employees plus in quality, profitability and business performance.” 

Anonymous A global footwear brand
Making ‘Decent Work’ a habit in global supply chains - Confident engineers talking in the factory, Beijing, China
Working Conditions

An important step away from employee overworking

According to the World Health Organization, exposure to long working hours was the cause of over 750,000 deaths worldwide between 2000 and 2016.

As identified in the the UN Sustainable Development Goal for ‘Decent Work & Economic Growth’, these numbers need to change. Adding transparency and compliance to global supply chains allows organizations to ensure fairer working conditions for all.

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The Challenge

After making a serious commitment to sustainability, a global footwear brand discovered an issue with one key supplier in China

Despite years of effort to improve the situation, the working hours for employees remained unacceptably long.

Behind the excessive hours was a high work turnover which subsequently resulted in a lower output quality. Fixing these mistakes took extra time and resources, increasing business costs, violating local laws, damaging relationships, and risking employee wellbeing.

By improving the turnover of workers, the supplier felt sure that it could gain control over working hours as well as bringing better outcomes for its footwear brand client.

The Solution

A better system for a more just supply chain

We came onboard to help with onsite support and our Supplier Compliance Manager (SCM) application.

During an initial workshop, we worked together to identify gaps in their management systems and diagnose the causes of excessive working hours.

This evolved into a comprehensive improvement programme that aimed to strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and apply more effective management systems and workflow.

Retaking control

By joining forces with the supplier, we helped it regain control in a number of ways.

Making ‘Decent Work’ a habit in global supply chains - Salesman introducing new shoes to customer in a shoe store
  • The supplier reduced working hours, continuing to maintain them consistently for the following years.

  • Supplier was aligned with UNSDG: ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’.

Overturning the numbers

  • 750,000 deaths

    Exposure to long working hours caused over 750,000 deaths worldwide between 2000 and 2016.

  • 15% reduction in turnover

    The supplier lowered their rate of turnover from 18% to 3%

Making ‘Decent Work’ a habit in global supply chains - Manager talking to employee in a storage room
Why BSI

Supporting workers' rights

We shape and embed best practice so that businesses can become future ready. As a global standards organization committed to delivering a positive impact for society, we empower industries to deliver equitable workplaces worldwide.

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Delivering transparency through standards

Learn how we create more sustainable, decent workplaces through standards and guidance geared towards inclusive best practice.

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