UN_Savethedate_050521_ILO updated-04.png
Sustainable supply chains: reaching the lower tiers

15:00-16:30 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 3 June 2021

Click HERE to access the recordings of the RBHR Forum on YouTube

Organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and the the International Labour Organization (ILO)




Supply chains have become the predominant way of organising production and trade. About 80% of global trade today taking place in value chains linked to transnational corporations.1 Trade-led growth has brought substantial economic development to many countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and a large part of jobs and are linked to the global value chains of companies. However this economic development hasn’t always gone hand in hand with social development. In some cases, this model of production has led both to a precariousness of jobs and environmental degradation. This particularly applies to the enterprises at lower tiers of supply chains, many of which operate far from the sight of inspectors and social audits and under extreme cost-preassure from buyers.

1 https://unctad.org/press-material/80-trade-takes-place-value-chains-linked-transnational-corporations-unctad-report

Session Description

This session will discuss challenges and potential solutions for promoting responsible and sustainable business practices in the lower tiers of supply chains. It will look at incentives for buyers and suppliers to ensure principles of responsible business conduct, both as a way to become more competitive and productive and to comply with emerging regulatory frameworks which require mandatory due diligence along the entire supply chain, including the lower tiers. It will share experiences of companies and discuss potential solutions to address these challenges, including initiatives that can support companies in  understanding and addressing social and environmental vulnerabilities and challenges in lower tiers.

Session Objectives

  • Understand the challenges faced by multinational enterprises to promote and enforce socially and environmentally responsible business practices among suppliers in the lower tiers of supply chains 

  • Explore the root causes for no-compliance with international environmental and labour standards in the lower tiers of global supply chains

  • Discuss the advantages buyers can gain from promoting and enforcing responsible business practices along their supply chains, and tools and initiatives that can help them do so

  • Share company experiences and good practices in ensuring international labour standards and good working conditions in global supply chains, and reducing climate impacts of supply chains.




Panelists will reflect on the following questions:

  • What are the most challenging aspects for ensuring socially and environmentally responsible business practices in lower tiers in your sector and in your company’s supply chains?  

  • What are the main root causes of non-complicance, and how can they be addressed? 

  • What are the main motivations for ensuring resposbile business conduct in lower tiers, and how can these be strengthened? 

  • What tools and initiatives can help companies identify and address issues in suppy chains? 

  • How can efforts to reduce emissions in value chains be coupled with efforts to improve labour conditions, and what synergies can be had? 

  • How far down supply chains can lead companies address responsibility issues, and what is needed to address issues at earlier tiers? What is the role of government policy?

For questions, please contact unrbhrforum@undp.org