Weaving CSR into the fabric of your organization – literally

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Public Works, the department in charge of buying uniforms and work wear for government employees, is reconsidering the ways in which it sources said uniforms.

The department brought a team together with the purpose of evaluating how feasible it would be to buy uniforms from more ethical suppliers and, now the report has been completed, they have some big decisions to make.

The special task force analysed how other governments and companies ensure their apparel comes from ethical suppliers, determined what constitutes an ‘ethical’ supplier and then came up with feasible options to buy official clothing from alternative sources.

Currently, Public Works spends about $80 million on apparel every year but that figure could sky-rocket if officials decide to buy from suppliers who follow strict labour laws and provide good working conditions.

Public Works is expected to begin consultations with ethical companies in the coming weeks.

Organizations around the world have faced heightened scrutiny after a deadly garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh killed 1,129 workers. The 2013 disaster drew worldwide attention and governments and companies alike have since faced increased pressure to support ethical garment production.

Canadian companies aren’t known for shying away from corporate social responsibility but, despite the increased attention, ethically sourcing uniforms is something that often slips through the net.

“Embedding corporate responsibility into a business is about making it an integrated part of the culture of the organization,” said Jonny Gifford, research advisor to the CIPD – and what better way to do that than by ethically sourcing the uniforms your employees wear every day?
As well as being an intrinsically good thing to do, actively engaging in CSR offers a whole host of proven benefits to businesses, including; increased retention, improved employer branding, greater attention from investors and an ability to attract better applicants.
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