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A little background on the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

The Ethical Trading Initiative is an alliance of companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and trade organizations dedicated to promoting “good practice” for goods sold in the UK.

The Ethical Trading Initiative works to create and apply a code of conduct to maintain labour standards- based on those of the International Labour Organisation- at all stages of production.

“For us, ethical trade –or ethical sourcing– means the assumption of responsibility by a company for the labour and human rights practices within its supply chain.”

The Ethical Trading Initiative promotes ethical consumption through an alliance of businesses, non-governmental organizations and unions.

The fundamental objective of the initiative is to assure that the labor conditions of the workers that produce goods for the British market meet or surpass international labor standards.

Improving labor conditions of workers in developing countries

ETI aims to improve labor conditions through the application of a code of conduct – “Base Code”- through different procedures:

  • The NGOs, distributors and businesses that form a part, as members, of the Ethical Trading Initiative, work together to identify the good practices that form the Base Code. ETI promotes and shares these practices through experimental and research projects, as well as by means of publications, seminars, conferences, events presentations and the ETI website.
  • ETI members are committed to adopting the code of conduct in their supply chains.

The code of conduct or the ETI Base Code Base

The Base Code is founded on the following 9 principles:

  • Employment is freely chosen.
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining and respected.
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic.
  • Child labour shall not be used.
  • Living wages are paid.
  • Working hours are not excessive.
  • No discrimination is practised.
  • Regular employment is provided.
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.

The purpose of the ETI is “to identify, develop and promote good practice with respect to implementing codes of labour practice.”

The principles of implementation of the Base Code are:

  • Effective and unmistakable commitment of the business or organization to effectively implement the Base Code.
  • Monitoring, independent verification and elaboration of reports.
  • Promotion of awareness raising and training.
  • Corrective Actions (proposals for continual improvement, demand for the immediate cessation for serious breaches of the code and, in case of breaches, to terminate businesses relationships with supplier concerned.
  • Management procedures, setting of prices and incentives.

ETI members

Businesses, unions and NGOs that, as members of ETI, apply the Base Code:

  • Corporate members: Adolfo Domínguez, ASDA, Associated British Foods (Primark), Boots, Chiquita International Brands, Co-operative Retail, DCC Corporate Clothing, Debenhams Retail, Dewhirst Group, Ethical Tea Partnership, Flamingo Holdings, Fyffes Group, Gap Inc, Greencell, Inditex, London Underground, Madison Hosiery, Marks & Spencer, Marshalls, Monsoon Accessorize, Mothercare, New Look Retailers, Next Retail, Pentland Group, Premier Foods, Quantum Clothing Group, Ringtons, Rohan Designs, Rombouts, Sainsbury’s, Supremia, Tesco, The Body Shop International, Typhoo Tea, Union Coffee Roasters, WH Smith, WIBEDCO, William Lamb Footwear, World Flowers.
  • Union members: International Trade Union Confederation ITUC; International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation ITGLWF; International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations IUF; The Trades Union Congress TUC.
  • NGO members: Africa Now, Anti-Slavery International, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Central American Women’s Network (CAWN), Christian Aid, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, HomeWorkers Worldwide, National Group on Homeworking, Oxfam GB, Quaker Peace and Social Witness (Religious Society of Friends), Save the Children, The Fairtrade Foundation, Traidcraft Exchange, TWIN Trading, Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising (WIEGO), Women Working Worldwide (WWW).

The initiative is financed through it’s membership fees (60% of the current budget) and by a grant from the UK’s Department for International Development (40%).