Skip to main content

The FairWear Campaign: An Ethical Network in the Australian Garment Industry

Abstract

In many parts of the world, homework is a form of labour characterised by precariousness, lack of regulation, and invisibility and lack of protection of the workers who are often amongst the world’s poorest and most exploited. Homework is spreading, due to firm practices such as outsourcing. The analysis and understanding of complex corporate networks may assist with the identification and protection of those most at risk within the supply chain network. It can also expose some of the key ethical issues and dilemmas of supply chain management and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Based on a case-study of the Australian FairWear Campaign (FWC), this article identifies an ethical network that aims to increase corporate accountability (CA) via greater transparency in corporate supply chains and improve work conditions for homeworkers and increase their recognition in the supply chain.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Amaeshi, K. and O. Amao: 2009, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in Transnational Spaces: Exploring Influences of Varieties of Capitalism on Expressions of Corporate Codes of Conduct in Nigeria’, Journal of Business Ethics, Published online October 8, 2009.

  2. AWATW: 2001, ‘Dare to Act: A Report on the Establishment of a Vietnamese Women Outworkers Network’ (Asian Women at Work with the Vietnamese Womens Association of NSW, Sydney).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Balakrishnan, R. 2002. ‘The Hidden Assembly Line: Gender Dynamics of Subcontracting in a Global Economy.’ (Kumarian Press, Bloomfield).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Baruah, B.: 2004, ‘Earning Their Keep and Keeping What They Earn: A Critique of Organizing Strategies for South Asian Women in the Informal Sector.’ Gender Work and Organization 11, 605-626.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baylina, M. and M. Schier: 2002, ‘Homework in Germany and Spain: Industrial Restructuring and the Meaning of Homework for Women’, GeoJournal 56(4), 295-304.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bendell, J.: 2004, ‘Barricades and Boardrooms: A Contemporary History of the Corporate Accountability Movement’ (UNRISD United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Beneria, L.: 2001, ‘Shifting the Risk: New Employment Patterns, Informalization, and Womens Work’, International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 15:1, 27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Beneria, L.: 2003, Gender, Development and Globalization: Ecomomics as If All People Mattered (Routledge, New York, London).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Beneria, L. and M. Roldan: 1987, The Crossroads of Class and Gender: Industrial Homework, Subcontracting, and Household Dynamics in Mexico City (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago,London).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Beynon, H., D. Grimshaw, J. Rubery and K. Ward: 2002, Managing Employment Change: The New Realities of Work (Oxford University Press, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Boris, E.: 1994, Home to Work: Motherhood and the Politics of Industrial Homework in the United States (Cambridge University Press, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Boris, E. and C. Daniels: 1989, Homework: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Paid Labor at Home (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Chicago), 299 pp.

  13. Brooks, E.: 2007, Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organising and Women’s Work (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London).

    Google Scholar 

  14. Burchielli, R, D. Buttigieg and A. Delaney: 2008, ‘Organizing Homeworkers: The Use of Mapping as an Organizing Tool’, Work, Employment & Society 22(1), 167–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Carr, M., Chen, M., Tate, J.: 2000, ‘Globalization and Homebased Workers’, Feminist Economics 6(3), 123-142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Carroll, A. B.: 1999, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, Business and Society Review 38, 268-295.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Carroll, A. B.: 2004, ‘Managing Ethically with Global Stakeholders: A Present and Future Challenge’, Academy of Management Executive 19(2), 114–120

  18. Carstens, D. 2003. ‘Community Unionism: The Asian Women at Work Model.’ (AWATW, Sydney).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Carstens, D.: 2007, FairWear (Personal Communication 30 August 2007) (Asian Women at Work, Sydney)

  20. Carstens, D. 2008. ‘Fair Work Legislation Canbera Delegation.’ (Asian Women at Work: New Castle).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Chang, D. and M. Wong 2005 ‘After the Consumer Movement: Toward a New International Labour Activism in the Global Garment Industry’. Labour, Capital and Society 38(12), 126-156

    Google Scholar 

  22. Charmes, J.: 2000, Research for Organising Homeworkers. Paper Presented at Mapping Planning Meeting, Leeds.

  23. Collins, J.: 2003, Threads: Gender, Labor, and Power in the Global Apparel Industry (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Cranford, C. and D. Ladd: 2003, ‘Community Unionism: Organising for Fair Employment in Canada’. Just Labour 3(2), 46-59.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Cregan, C.: 2001a, Home Sweat Home: Preliminary Findings of the First Stage of a Two-Part Study of Outworkers in the Textile Industry in Melbourne Victoria. January–June 2001 (Department of Management, Melbourne University).

  26. Cregan, C.: 2001b, ‘In the Dark World: Outworker Narratives’ (Department of Management, University of Melbourne, Melbourne).

    Google Scholar 

  27. Delaney, A.: 2008, Accounting for Corporate Social Responsibility: Does It Benefit Workers Across the Supply Chain? Paper Presented at AIRAANZ 21st Conference, Melbourne, Australia, February, 2008.

  28. Delaney, A.: 2010, ‘Corporate Accountability through Community and Unions: Linking Workers and Campaigning to Improving Working Conditions Across the Supply Chain’, in S. Marshall and K. Macdonald (eds.), Fair Trade, Corporate Accountability and Beyond: Experiments in Globalised Justice (Ashgate, Farnham), pp. 259–275.

  29. Diviney, E. and S. Lillywhite: 2007, Évidence from Brotherhood of St Laurence Research. Paper Presented at Fair Trade, Corporate Accountability and Beyond: Experiments in ‘Globalising Justice’!, University of Melbourne, 19–20 December, 2007.

  30. Egels-Zanden, N.: 2009, ‘Transnational Governance of Workers’ Rights: Outlining a Research Agenda ‘, Journal of Business Ethics 87:169-188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. FairWear: 2005a, Fairwear Submission to Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education References Committee Inquiry into Workplace Agreements (FairWear, Melbourne).

  32. FairWear: 2005b, Outworkers Protections Maintained after Sustained Lobbying (FairWear Campaign, Melbourne), 3 pp.

  33. FairWear 2006. ‘Fairwear National: Campaign and Decision Making Structure.’ (FairWear: Sydney, Melbourne).

    Google Scholar 

  34. FairWear 2007. ‘Coalition Planning Meeting.’ (FairWear New South Wales: Sydney).

    Google Scholar 

  35. FairWear: 2008, ‘Submission to the Review of the Australian Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industries, 2008 ‘(FairWear, Melbourne).

    Google Scholar 

  36. Fernandez-Kelly, P. and A. Garcia: 1989, ‘Informalization at the Core: Hispanic Women, Homework, and the Advanced Capitalist State’, in A. Portes, M. Castells and L. A. Benton (eds.), The Informal Economy (The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London), 247-264.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Fine, J.: 2005, ‘Community Unions and the Revival of the American Labor Movement’, Politics & Society, 33(1), 153–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Ford, M.: 2004, ‘Organizing the Unorganizable: Unions, NGOs, and Indonesian Migrant Labour’, International Migrations, 42(3), 99-119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Friends of the Earth: Circa 2004, ‘A Guide to the Guidelines: Practical Guidance for Individuals, Communities and NGOs on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development: Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises’ (Friends of the Earth (FOE), Washington).

    Google Scholar 

  40. Gao Y (2008) ‘“Secondary Effect” In Implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility in Supply Chain’. In: International Institute for Labour Studies (ed.). Governance, International Law & Corporate Social Responsibility: Research Series 116. International Labour Organization, Geneva, pp. 155-178

    Google Scholar 

  41. Hale, A. and J. Turner: 2005, ‘Codes of Conduct through a Gender Lens’, in N. Ascoby and C. Finney (eds.), Made by Women (Clean Clothes Campaign, Amsterdam), 75-83.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Hale, A. and J. Wills: 2005, Threads of Labour: Garment Industry Supply Chains from the Workers’ Perspective. Antipode Book Series (Blackwell Publishers, Malden), 266 pp.

  43. Hill, E.: 2001, ‘Women in the Indian Informal Economy: Collective Strategies for Work Life Improvement and Development’, Work, Employment & Society, 15(3), 443-464.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Hill, E.: 2005, Organising ‘Non-Standard’ Women Workers for Economic and Social Security in India and Australia. Paper Presented at Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ)19th Conference Reworking Work, Sydney, 9–11 February 2005

  45. Husted, B. W. and D. B. Allen: 2006, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in the Multinational Enterprise: Strategic and Institutional Approaches’, Journal of International Business Studies, 27(6), 838–849.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. HWW: 2002, ‘Initial Summary Evaluation of Pilot Year of Programme of Mapping Homebased Work.’ In J. Tate (ed.), HWW, 8.

  47. HWW: 2004, ‘Organising for Change: Women Homebased Workers in the Global Economy. Final Report on Mapping Homebased Work’ (Homeworkers Worldwide, Leeds, UK).

  48. HWW: 2006, ‘We Work at Home: The Training Manual’ (HWW, Leeds, UK).

    Google Scholar 

  49. IILS: 2008, Governance, International Law & Corporate Social Responsibility: Research Series 116 (International Labour Organization: International Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva), 207 pp.

  50. ILO: 1996, ‘Homework Convention.’ (International Labor Organisation: Geneva).

    Google Scholar 

  51. ILO: 2002a, Decent Work and the Informal Economy: Report VI (International Labour Office, Geneva).

  52. ILO: 2002b, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (International Labour Office, Geneva).

  53. IRENE: 2000. Controlling Corporate Wrongs: The Liability of Multinational Corporations (IRENE: International Restructuring Education Network Europe: Coventry, University of Warwick, UK), 16 pp.

  54. Jenkins, R.: 2001, ‘Corporate Codes of Conduct: Self-Regulation in a Global Economy’ (UNRISD,United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva).

    Google Scholar 

  55. Jenkins, R., R. Pearson and G. Seyfang 2002. ‘Corporate Responsibility and Labour Rights.’ (Earthscan).

    Google Scholar 

  56. Jonker, J. and A. Marberg: 2007, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Quo Vadis? A Critical Inquiry into a Discursive Struggle. The Journal of Corporate Citizenship’, The Journal of Corporate Citizenship 27(Autumn), 107-119.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Jütting, J. and J. R. de Laiglesia: 2009, ‘Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries’, (OECD Publishing).

    Google Scholar 

  58. Khattak, S. G.: 2002, ‘Subcontracted Work and Gender Relations: The Case of Pakistan’, in R. Balakrishnan (ed.), The Hidden Assembly Line: Gender Dynamics of Subcontracted Work in a Global Economy (Kumarian Press, Bloomfield), 35-62.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Kirton, J. and A. Trebilcock: 2004, Soft Law: Voluntary Standards in Global Trade, Environment and Social Governance (Ashgate, Aldershot), 375 pp.

  60. Kvale, S.: 1996, Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California).

    Google Scholar 

  61. Leong, A. and K. W. Chan: 2007, Critical Reflection on CSR: A Labour Perspective. Paper Presented at Fair Trade, Corporate Accountability and Beyond: Experiments in Globalising Justice!, University of Melbourne, 19–20 December 2007.

  62. Maguire, P.: 2006, ‘Uneven Ground: Feminisms and Action Research’, in P. Reason and H. Bradbury (eds.), Handbook of Action Research (Sage, London), 60-70.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Marshall, S.: 2007, ‘Australian Textile Clothing and Footwear Supply Chain Regulation’, in C. Fenwick and T. Novitz (eds.), Legal Protection of Workers’ Human Rights: Regulatory Change and Challenge (Hart, Oxford).

    Google Scholar 

  64. Massey, D.: 1994, Space, Place and Gender (Polity Press, Cambridge).

    Google Scholar 

  65. Miles, M. B. and A. M. Huberman: 1994, Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. (2nd Ed.) (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks).

    Google Scholar 

  66. Mitchell, R.A., B.R. Agle and D.J. Wood: 1997, ‘Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts’, Academy of Management Review 22(4), 853-86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Nash, A.: 2001, People.Dot.Com:Munity (Villamanta Legal Service Inc., Geelong West,VIC).

    Google Scholar 

  68. Nguyen, T.: 2006. ‘Report Back on Our Participation in Work Choices Inquiry in Canberra’, (FairWear Sydney).

    Google Scholar 

  69. OECD: 2008, ‘Guidelines for Multi-National Enterprises: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)’, www.oecd.org/dataoecd/56/36/1922428.pdf. Accessed 23 Apr 2009.

  70. Prugl, E. and I. Tinker: 1997, ‘Microentrepreneurs and Homeworkers: Convergent Categories’, World Development 25(9), 1471-82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Rawling, M.: 2007, ‘The Regulation of Outwork and the Federal Takeover of Labour Law’, Australian Journal of Labour Law 20(2), 189.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Reason, P. and H. Bradbury: 2006, Handbook of Action Research (Sage, London), 362 pp.

  73. Roberts, J.: 1992, ‘Determinants of CSR Disclosures’, Accounting, Organizations and Society 17(6), 595-612.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Rowbotham, S.: 1999, ‘New Ways of Organising in the Informal Sector: Four Case Studies of Trade Union Activity’ (HomeNet, Leeds).

    Google Scholar 

  75. Seidman, G.: 2008, ‘Beyond the Boycott: Citizenship at Work’, Labor History, 49(3), 364-368.

    Google Scholar 

  76. Staples, D. E.: 2006, No Place Like Home: Organizing Home-Based Labor in the Era of Structural Adjustment (Routledge, New York and London).

    Google Scholar 

  77. Strike, V. M., J. Gao and P. Bansai: 2006, ‘Being Good While Being Bad: Social Responsibility and the International Diversification of Us Firms’, Journal of International Business Studies 37(6), 850-862.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Sutherland, E.: 2007, ‘An Epidemic of Community, Union and Government Induced Reform? Mapping the ‘Tipping Point’ for Ethical Governance of Homebased Apparel Work in Nsw, Australia’, in D. Buttigieg, S. Cockfield, S. Cooney, M. Jerrard, and A. Rainnie (eds.), Trade Unions in the Community: Values, Issues, Shared Interests and Alliances (Heidelberg Press, Heidelberg), 155-172.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Tate, J. and L. Brill: 2003a, Defining Homebased Workers – Who Should Be Included? HomeWorkers Worldwide Policy Workshop (HomeWorkers Worldwide, Zlatibor, Serbia), 11 pp.

  80. Tate, J. and L. Brill: 2003b, Policy Issues & Strategies for Homebased Workers: Emerging Themes from the Mapping Programme (HWW, Zlatibor, Serbia), 13 pp.

  81. TCFUA: 1995, The Hidden Cost of Fashion: Report on the National Outwork Information Campaign (Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia, TCFUA, Sydney).

    Google Scholar 

  82. Trebilcock, A.: 2005, Decent Work and the Informal Economy. Paper Presented at EGDI-WIDER Conference on Unlocking Human Potential – Linking the Informal and Formal Sectors, Helsinki, 17–18 September 2004.

  83. Utting, P.: 2005, ‘Corporate Responsibility and the Movement of Business’, Development in Practice 15(3&4), 375–388.

    Google Scholar 

  84. Utting, P.: 2007a, ‘CSR and Equality’, Third World Quarterly 28(4), 697–712.

  85. Utting, P.: 2007b, Regulating for Social Development: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Responsibility and Accountability. Paper Presented at Fair Trade, Corporate Accountability and Beyond: Experiments in ‘Globalising Justice’, Law School, University of Melbourne, 19–20 December 2007

  86. Vilanova, M., J. M. Lozano and D. Arenas: 2009, ‘Exploring the Nature of the Relationship between CSR and Competitiveness’, Journal of Business Ethics 87(Supplement 1), 57-69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Waddock, S.: 2004a, ‘Creating Corporate Accountability: Foundation Principles to Make Corporate Citizenship Real’, Journal of Business Ethics 50, 313–327.

  88. Waddock, S.: 2004b, ‘Parallel Universes: Companies, Academics, and the Progress of Corporate Citizenship’, Business and Society Review 109(1), 5–42.

  89. Wardlaw, K. and J. Curtin: 2005, ‘Outworkers and Precarity: The Case of Victorian Clothing Workers’, Just Policy 37(September), 72-78.

    Google Scholar 

  90. Weller, S.: 1999, ‘Clothing Outwork: Union Strategy, Labour Regulation and Labour Market Restructuring’, The Journal of Industrial Relations 41(2 June), 203-227.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  91. Wood, D.J., A. Vaccaro and A. Santana: 2009, ‘The Impact of Network Ethics on Business Practices ‘, Journal of Business Ethics 85, 277-279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rosaria Burchielli.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Burchielli, R., Delaney, A., Tate, J. et al. The FairWear Campaign: An Ethical Network in the Australian Garment Industry. J Bus Ethics 90, 575–588 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-010-0593-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • homework
  • informal employment
  • corporate social responsibility
  • ethical networks
  • supply chains