The EU has announced support to improve workplace safety and labour practices in producing countries.
EU announces support for the G7’s ‘Vision Zero Fund’, to improve working conditions and labour standards, and establish sustainable business practices in producing countries.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, has announced an EU contribution for the G7’s ‘Vision Zero Fund’. This Fund will support joint activities of governments, businesses, social partners and NGOs in the low income countries where goods are made, to reduce and prevent workplace related deaths, improve labour inspections, ensure fair production and help workers to exercise their rights.
Commissioner Thyssen underlined: “Every year, 2.3 million people die from work related accidents or diseases around the world. This is 6,300 people every day. The Commission is strongly committed to preventing workplace accidents, promoting fundamental labour rights and enhancing the level playing field for companies. We are committed to upholding the highest standards, and we are working every day to prevent human suffering and economic costs linked to unsafe workplaces across Europe and abroad. The G7’s Vision Zero Fund will contribute to improving working conditions and reduce the health and safety risks for the hundreds of millions of people employed in global supply chains.”
The Vision Zero Fund builds on the commitment made at the G7 Summit in Elmau in June 2015 to foster sustainable global supply chains and to agree on concrete actions for implementation and follow-up. It will get its funding from both public and private contributions and will be managed by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Its first pilot activities will start in 2016, focusing on the ready-made garment sectors of selected producing countries.
The European Commission is working to ensure that social considerations are appropriately taken into account both in internal and external policies of the EU, including in global issues such as supply chain sustainability and decent work.
Following the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in April 2013, which resulted in over 1,200 deaths, the European Commission launched the EU Sustainability Compact in July 2013 together with the ILO, Bangladesh authorities and the United States, to promote better labour rights and more responsible supply chain management.
The EU seeks to ensure that its trading partners comply with core ILO labour standards and international environmental standards. In addition, several EU laws recently adopted or in preparation set out due diligence requirements in specific supply chains, such as timber or conflict minerals.