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7 Sep 2015

Greg Asbed (Coalition of Immokalee Workers), Scott Nova (Worker Rights Consortium), Noelle Damico (National Economic and Social Rights Initiative), on Huffington Post (USA)

Commentary: "Why Consumers Matter in Realizing Workers' Rights"

Partnering consumer power with worker-designed solutions to protect their own human rights is a 21st century strategy for transforming supply chains. And it's winning...For workers experiencing human rights violations, "corporate social responsibility" or "CSR" has been little more than a cruel mirage. Too many brands and retailers have used CSR to persuade consumers that abuses are being eliminated, while the abuses, in fact, continue unabated...In stark contrast to CSR, the WSR [worker-driven social responsibility] model involves workers at every level of design and monitoring of programs to ensure their rights while industry-specific, rigorous third-party inspections and corrective action plans ensure gains...The CIW's [Coalition of Immokalee Workers'] Fair Food Program, launched in 2011 and today boasting agreements with companies from McDonald's to Whole Foods, has reversed that process, leveraging the corporations' buying power to improve, rather than impoverish, workers' lives...There is clearly much ground yet to cover as WSR moves into more industries in different countries. Even so, as we converse with workers' organizations, grassroots groups and governments from Morocco to Colombia, the hunger for this model is real and the hope is palpable. Because it's working...[Refers to Ahold, McDonald's, Taco Bell (part of YUM!), Whole Foods]