Socially responsible business has become a major issue in international trade. Both retailers and suppliers on European markets face tough requirements not only in terms of quality and prices but social standards, too. Apart from the legal requirements, various sets of commercial requirements are emerging. One of these is The Business Social Compliance Initiative, or BSCI. Endorsed by a broad group of European retailers, it can be applied to all consumer goods and agricultural products. Exporters from developing countries supplying to a BSCI member must meet its requirements. With the BSCI’s impact growing, compliance may provide good market opportunities. The Business Social Compliance Initiative was developed by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) which is a branch organization of European retailers.
The Business Social Compliance Initiative was developed by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) which is a branch organization of European retailers. BSCI members include big retailers such as C&A, HEMA, WE and Wehkamp (Netherlands), Karstadt, Metro Group, Quelle and Neckermann (Germany), Kesko and Stockmann (Finland), Lindex, KappAhl and Unibrands (Sweden), Inditex (Spain), Vögele, Calida and Coop (Switzerland), The Cotton Group (Belgium) and Celio (France). The BSCI is becoming an important EU market access requirement.
Here are some of the BSCI objectives:
- To improve social and environmental production in supplier countries.
- To provide a practicable monitoring system.
- To avoid multiple and redundant auditing systems.
- To achieve savings in time and costs.
- To cooperate with other equivalent systems.
The following requirements are of particular importance:
- Legal compliance.
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
- Prohibition of discrimination.
- Environment and safety issues.