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NEW YORK – Many of the world’s leading voluntary certification standards are failing to improve the ethical conduct of large corporations while “entrenching abusive business practices” claims damning new research. A 235 page report looked at 40 global voluntary initiatives, including many operating in the apparel and textiles space such as the Better Cotton Initiative, Ethical Trading Initiative, Fair Wear Foundation, GoodWeave International and Rainforest alliance.

It concluded that voluntary schemes have comprehensively failed – and may even be making matters worse in supply chains. “Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives (MSIs) are not effective tools for holding corporations accountable for abuses, protecting rights holders against human rights violations, or providing survivors and victims with access to remedy,” say the authors. “While MSIs can be important and necessary venues for learning, dialogue, and trust-building between corporations and other stakeholders – which can sometimes lead to positive rights outcomes— – they should not be relied upon for the protection of human rights. They are simply not fit for this purpose.”

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