- The criteria chosen by numerous corporations to assess sustainability efforts in such areas as fair labor practices and human rights are inexact and minimal, Supply Management reported.
- The report by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights considered 12 leading standards for measuring worker conditions, ultimately finding them too flattering and imprecise to employers.
- Standards should progress from representing company social policies and to the real impact on workers, communities and the environment, the report stated.
In general, company audits of overseas factories are ineffective for a variety of reasons, such as the problematic fact that they pay the auditors, and therefore it is inherently in the audit's interest to make sure that the company's report reflects positively. Most revelatory details released to the public are the product of non-company funded non government organizations NGOs) or, in one case, journalists.
Establishing a recognized set of standards would go a long way toward empowering supply chain audit results, as would doing away with such common practices as pre-arranged or announced visits, translators hired by suppliers, or even misleading locations presented as "all is well" decoy facilities.
Workers often operate under abhorrent conditions, about which they are threatened and misled. This is usually due to the practices of secondary tier suppliers. Yet the supply chain cannot exist without layers of suppliers, so how can unfair practices be discovered and resolved? Surprise visits by qualified natives of the countries in question are a big part of it, if employed by sources other than company owners.