treated? Also, there is a lot of free-riding among companies; only a few are making the necessary investment in monitoring and compliance; the remainder hide behind a veneer of monitoring activity while they continue to violate ILS.

QUESTION: How should the issue of the informal economy be handled in the National Academies database?

Neil Kearney

ILS monitoring and compliance should definitely be extended as much as possible to the informal economy. Historically, laws applied to the formal economy have filtered down to the informal economy, but the effect has been haphazard and incomplete, and thus this issue needs to be addressed more directly.

QUESTION: What are the concerns about the number of codes and the confusion this brings?

Neil Kearney

Clearly there are too many codes, and it is also clear that voluntary initiatives are not working. Codes are not focusing on the International Labour Organization (ILO) core labor standards, but rather on welfare issues, such as cafeterias and bathrooms. If the codes sincerely focused on freedom of association and collective bargaining, they would be much more effective because workers would be empowered to act on their own behalf. The existence of independent unions that are free to act in the interests of workers would go a long way toward eliminating violations of ILS.

The issue of too many codes creating confusion among factory managers is a red herring; these same factories apparently have little trouble handling the extremely complex tasks involved in making clothing.

Gregg Nebel (adidas-Salomon AG)

Too many codes should not be a problem because many are almost exact copies of one another. It is true, however, that factory managers hide behind the argument that there are too many codes and too much confu

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement