The University of Edinburgh has affiliated with the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC).
The WRC is an independent, non-political labour rights monitoring organisation, which makes efforts to collaborate with workers, non-governmental organisations, and other universities and colleges, to improve the conditions of workers in the garment industry.
By affiliating with the WRC, the University recognises that along with its social responsibility and sustainable procurement policies, a code of conduct will consider issues such as wages, hours of work, overtime compensation, freedom of association, workplace safety and health, women’s rights, child and forced labour, harassment and abuse in the workplace and non-discrimination.
The University will use the code of conduct, within public procurement law, to help its procurement specialists to engage with supply chains through disclosure of garment factory locations from all University garment suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors, to share with the WRC. Where the University is in a consortium, we will endeavour to get information from collaborators or suppliers. We are advised current suppliers use International Labour Organisation standard and ethical codes.
As Scotland’s first Fairtrade University, we will keep the WRC benefits under review with EUSA and people & planet students looking into it, with staff from academic community and support services.
Karen Bowman, convenes the Fairtrade Steering Group, and supports Fair Trade Academic Network
“Fairtrade cotton may be certified as it is grown and picked but workers making our clothes may not have the same benefits and we would like to see less exploitation. We hope WRC can help us find out more. Our student community want to research on global challenges, such as poverty or injustice.”
Director of Procurement
This article was published on Jul 6, 2012