The pace of work at Verité often means conversations across the Verité global network focus on the nuts and bolts of report writing, assessments, trainings, and tool development, among other projects. Rarely do we find the time to reflect on long-term approaches to tackling global labor abuses and considering our evolution as a global network to meet those challenges.
This past April, thirty-four Verité partners paused in their day-to-day commitments to gather in Bangkok to share and strategize about the issues most critical to the Verité network’s goal of promoting fair, safe, and legal work. The summit also offered a welcome opportunity for long-term colleagues to reconnect in person, as well as for new members of network organizations to become acquainted. Thanks to the collaboration and ideation of some of the most passionate and experienced minds in our field, we were able to debate best practices and recognize where we can envision having the greatest impact in coming years.
- the centrality of gender disparities across all categories of labor rights violations and the need to highlight gender-sensitive approaches throughout Verité programming;
- the need to target interventions on sectors where labor problems have not received sufficient attention, such as the large and diverse hospitality sector;
- the vital need to ensure that efforts to promote “worker voice” complement – rather than replace or threaten – genuine worker empowerment and freedom of association;
- the imperative to pivot from individual company action on ethical recruitment to more genuine industry-wide and cross-sectoral reform of labor supply chain practices;
- the importance of integrating child labor prevention with other labor rights efforts, such as those focused on forced labor and enhancing wages and incomes;
- building the capacity of businesses and others to understand and tackle labor problems inherent in agricultural supply chains worldwide;
- improving the measurement of the impacts of factory assessments; and
- promoting a more rigorous and widespread understanding of the economics of fair labor and how labor market dynamics affect compliance goals.