Everything suggests that an Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) will be founded in Sweden in December when an inaugural meeting will be held. There is strong interest from business, NGOs and authorities to join an ETI Sweden, which bodes well for its operation.
“Our aspiration is that ETI Sweden will represent as wide a range of businesses as possible. We are therefore focusing on companies within the retail, food, textile, heavy industry, construction, automotive, pharmaceutical and energy sectors.” – Viveka Risberg, Axfoundation
Viveka Risberg, program director for Sustainable production and consumption, Axfoundation
Improve working conditions in global supply chains
ETI’s goal is to improve labor conditions in the global supply chains through the collaboration between private companies, public sector, trade unions and NGOs. ETI is thus relevant for all players; from companies with global suppliers to trade unions, trade associations and NGOs as well as public procurers and their suppliers.
The Ethical Trading Initiative is already an influential player and is established in Norway, Denmark and the UK. ETI UK was formed in 2000. There has been a movement towards founding a sister organization in Sweden for about a decade. This has for different reasons not been achieved until – as everything suggests – December 2019.
Why is ETI needed in Sweden?
Sweden’s imports are completely dependent on production in high-risk countries with precarious labor conditions and negative social and environmental footprints. The effort to secure good labor conditions is advancing at the top of the chain, but further down, where the risks are greatest, there is neither traceability nor transparency.
“Most companies are too small to be influential on their own. ETI will become a platform for collaboration, practical supplier assessments and advocacy – even at a political level.” – Viveka Risberg, Axfoundation
In the shift towards renewable energy, ETI can play an active role by focusing on workers’ rights and the environmental effect within the extraction and processing of raw materials. As the growth of the Asian economies coincides with increased repression of free speech and freedom of association, ETI is an important vehicle for strengthened union rights and a social dialogue within the manufacturing sector. Agriculture and Primary Production is another important sector for ETI.
ETI’s position is wider than Global Deal, with a more practical orientation than UN Global Compact – and it is a three-party organization comparable to the trade organization amfori BSCI. Concrete business cases can be produced and presented in other forums through ETI Sweden. These forums can in turn provide ETI with contacts at a policy level.
Working group with a wide representation
During the summar/autumn of 2019, a working group has drawn up a draft strategy and made study visits to the Norwegian and Danish ETI. The group has representatives from Axfood, Axfoundation, Coop, Fairtrade, The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, Menigo, NCC, Oxfam Sweden, Save the Children International, The Church of Sweden, Systembolaget, Unionen, Union to Union, The National Agency for Public Procurement and Vision.
Welcome to the inaugural meeting 12/12
The inaugural meeting will take place on 12th December 2019. Is your organization interested in becoming a member of ETI Sweden? Would you like an invitation to the meeting? Or are you curious about what added value ETI Sweden could bring to your organization? Please contact Viveka Risberg, Axfoundation.