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Aruba, August 31, 2018 - It's evident from analyzing the thousands of global, on-site factory audits weâ€ve conducted so far this year that manufacturer's€ interest in ethics and sustainability is waning.

So far in 2018, the chief concerns of global trade and manufacturing have been centered around main geopolitical issues, such as the unfolding China-U.S. trade war and the UK impending departure from the E.U. With such major developments dominating the agenda, ethical, compliance and environmental standards in supply chains can take a back seat—until an incident happens or an ethical lapse hits the news.
It's evident from analysis of the thousands of global, on-site factory audits we’ve conducted so far this year that manufacturers’ interest in ethics and sustainability is waning. Even though overall ethical scores recorded by factory auditors in the second quarter are still higher compared to the average 2017 values, manufacturers have failed to maintain the previous quarter’s improvement pace. More than one-third of factories received an "amber" grade on the commonly used “traffic light” ranking system, indicating that improvements are required in the medium-term to prevent further deterioration. (“Green” grade typically indicates high levels of ethical compliance, while “red” points to the presence of critical non-compliances, including child and/or forced labor).
“Ethical compliance” is a fairly broad term. So what specific issues are plaguing global supply chains in 2018? Ensuring safe working conditions is one of the major struggles, with its latest structural audit data pointing to slower progress than optimal. The good news is, in the second quarter of 2018, fewer factories were found to have immediate critical risks threatening worker life and safety.