Responsible Apparel Initiative: Creating a Social Responsibility Index (SRI) to Promote Ethical Practices among Consumer Driven Apparel Supply Chains
January 31, 2021 - December 31, 2023
Core Funding Area:
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
Director: Robert HandfieldInstitution: North Carolina State University
This project will develop an objective measure of fair working conditions in apparel factories around the world. This mechanism is a communication-based tool referred to as the Ethical Apparel Index (EAI), which will serve as an objective indicator of fair labor standards and working conditions in apparel factories that can be effectively communicated to consumers and additional supply chain stakeholders (i.e., brands and investors). The measure will summarize indicators of forced labor and slavery in factories, violations of minimum and living wages, standard building safety and housing conditions, and freedom of association.
To determine the most relevant indicators, the project will draw on field research and conduct a series of Delphi surveys among experts and stakeholders. To determine how best to communicate the Index, the project will also conduct a series of consumer experiments to learn more about consumer’s perceptions of corporate social responsibility. The project will then pilot the Index with an industry partner and refine the Index as needed. The Index will bring transparency to global apparel supply chains, allowing consumers to compare the work conditions across brand supply chains. If successful, this transparency will reward factories that protect workers, recognize brands that select ethical source factories, and encourage ethical investments.
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