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Approaches to child labour in the supply chain

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This paper examines the difficulties of dealing with child labour in the supply chain. It begins by identifying a number of the factors which make global supply chains so difficult to manage. It goes on to outline a framework of different approaches that can be taken to managing the supply chain with relation to child labour, moving from national and international regulation, through to the role of NGOs and the companies themselves. Focusing on an ‘engagement’ strategy for dealing with child labour, the paper traces a case study of Adidas-Salomon and its attempts to implement their ‘standards of engagement’ in this area with relation to one of their supplier factories in Vietnam. The research draws on the direct involvement of one of the authors who visited the site and was able to interview staff and observe the operation in practice. Her findings are supported by wider work on the implementation of corporate approaches to human rights at a range of companies interviewed by another of the authors. The paper aims to highlight the issues needing to be addressed for companies considering the ‘involvement’ approach to child labour. It also aims to develop theory on our understanding of different approaches to corporate rights.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Imperial College Management School, 2: Birkbeck College

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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