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Human rights and responsible business conduct in Asia Pacific’s textile sector

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13 June, 2024On 5-6 June, IndustriALL Asia-Pacific affiliates met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for a workshop on human rights due diligence and a stakeholder roundtable focused on responsible business conduct and industrial relations.

The workshop on human rights due diligence and trade union engagement addressed the growing global trend of mandatory due diligence. Dorothy Lovell from the OECD presented on various global regulatory developments concerning Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment & Footwear Sector. Participants were informed about the new EU Directive on mandatory due diligence.

Representatives from UA Zensen, including Atsushi Shibata from the manufacturing division and Hitomi Akiyama, assistant director of the policy and political affairs bureau, introduced Japan’s approach to human rights due diligence. Yoichi Ishikawa, central executive standing committee member of UA Zensen and advisor to the Mizuno workers' union, provided an in-depth overview of the Mizuno global framework agreement and company structure. He was followed by Yusuke Sato, President of ASICS union, who presented on ASICS and their supply chain due diligence.

On the 6 of June, a roundtable was hosted by the OECD, IndustriALL and UA Zensen, bringing together companies (brands and manufacturers), trade unions, policymakers and other stakeholders across garment and footwear supply chains. The aim was to examine the OECD’s recommendations on meaningful engagement with workers and trade unions concerning labour rights throughout the due diligence process.

A Khmer translation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment & Footwear Sector was introduced and served as the backdrop for the discussions. A draft synthesis paper on the OECD’s guidance for meaningful engagement with trade unions was also presented for discussion.

Said Matsuura, UA Zensen president:

"Business and human rights in the supply chain are not issues for management alone. It is essential that the trade union, as an important stakeholder, be firmly involved and that the three parties—government, labour, and management—work together to address the issue."

The events were supported by UA Zensen and IndustriALL.