"What is Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR)?"

Author: Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network (USA), Published on: 26 April 2017

...[Low]-wage workers at the base of corporate supply chains remain isolated, vulnerable, exploited and abused... Corporations...bear responsibility for ensuring that human rights are respected in their suppliers’ operations, but they tend to treat the discovery of abuses in their supply chains as public relations crises to be managed, rather than human rights violations to be remedied....[They] embrace strategies that profess adherence to fundamental human rights standards but establish no effective mechanisms for enforcing those standards. This approach, known broadly as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is characterized by voluntary commitments, broad standards that often merely mirror local law, ineffective or non-existent monitoring...

[Recently] workers and their organizations have forged effective solutions that ensure the real, verifiable protection of human rights in corporate supply chains. This new paradigm is known as Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR). It has been tested in some of the most stubbornly exploitative labor environments in the world today—from the agricultural fields of Florida, which were once dubbed “ground zero for modern-day slavery”...to the apparel sweatshops of Bangladesh... In order to achieve meaningful and lasting improvements, labor rights programs in global supply chains must be worker-driven, enforcement-focused, based on legally binding commitments by global corporations that place responsibility at the top of the supply chain for improvements in working conditions in suppliers’ operations...

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