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Document Abstract
Published: 1 Mar 2009

Have Hong Kong garment companies improved their reporting on labour standards?

Enhancing transparency in Hong Kong garment company supply chains
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This report examines transparency in Hong Kong garment sector supply chain operations to provide an update of their overall performance, and any key developments facing Hong Kong companies.

The research covers five categories:
  • governance and risk management
  • code of conduct
  • stakeholder engagement
  • management
  • auditing and reporting
The report finds that:
  • there has not been a marked overall improvement in actual reporting on supply chain social compliance, but leading Hong Kong garment retail companies are taking the issue more seriously and are in the process of putting practices, systems and internal communications in place before they progress towards public reporting
  • the most influential stakeholder is the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKex) and companies indicated that if it required improved transparency they would comply
  • many Hong Kong apparel companies supply globally renowned apparel brands, and their clients’ purchasing practices contribute to poor supply chain labour practices -a major obstacle to ethical supply chain practices is the price squeeze being felt by suppliers from large multinational apparel clients together with the increasingly stringent supplier codes of conduct requirements
The report makes several recommendations that it expects will serve as a road map for better company reporting and labour standards compliance in the supply chain, and help foster collaborative action to eliminate workers’ rights abuses in global supply chains.

The report also notes that Hong Kong apparel brands are mainly Asia-pacific focused and have had limited exposure to the added pressures of more mature markets, which include more stringent reporting requirements, heightened consumer expectations, and NGO and media scrutiny. It suggests that given the global potential of these brands, improved transparency is a powerful strategy for improving access to and opportunities in these markets.
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