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BANGKOK – Swedish officials have announced a new project to tackle CSR and environmental issues in Asian garment supply chains. The Regional Development Cooperation Section at the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have signed an agreement to start a new project designed to promote decent work, gender equality and environmental sustainability.

Starting in January 2019, the project ‘Decent Work in the Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia’ will focus on garment supply chains in Asia, notably South-Asia, South-East Asia and China. All are major sourcing hubs for Swedish fast fashion brands and H&M is itself the largest buyer of clothing from South East Asia.

“In many developing countries, global supply chains have created employment opportunities and have contributed to economic and social development. There is also evidence, however, that the dynamics of production in global supply chains can have a negative impact on working conditions and workers’ rights as well as environmental sustainability,” said Åsa Hedén, head of development cooperation Regional Asia and the Pacific, at the Embassy of Sweden, in Thailand.

The main goal of the project is to contribute to improved working conditions and rights workers as well as improved productivity and environmental sustainability of the garment sector in Asia.

With the support of governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations and other private sector organisations, the project will aim to strengthen knowledge of research findings, good practices and tools in four main areas, these being: Social dialogue and industrial relations systems; Advancement of gender equality; Enhanced productivity and competitiveness; Reduced environmental impact.

By strengthening coordination among the many stakeholders already actively working to ensure decent work in the garment industry in Asia, the project will also aim to contribute to better knowledge-sharing and synergies of action

The project is funded by the Regional Development Cooperation Section of the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok. It will be managed by the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in close collaboration with ILO Country Offices and with the technical support of ILO’s two decent work technical teams (DWTs) in Bangkok and Delhi as well as multiple specialist departments at ILO headquarters.

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