ICS Annual Report 2014
In 2014, AQM became member of the Social Clause Initiative (ICS) after a long selection process. Therefore, we are one of the 9 audit firms accredited by ICS and we participate actively to the sustainable improvement of working conditions in factories.
“ICS members work together to improve the working conditions in their production plants by rolling out a shared audit framework and by exchanging information on their joint factories”.
OVERVIEW OF THE ICS ANNUAL REPORT 2014
The ICS recently published its annual report for 2014, it highlights 4 main issues on which the 20 brands and the 9 audit firms members of the ICS focused during that year:
- Promotion of standardised reporting on social performance (effective rating system, shared set of requirements…)
- Sharing of audit reports on joint factories and related information between members
- Selection and process of monitoring of audit firms
- Communication with the various stakeholders, and in particular institutions, of the measures in the initiative
In 2014, the audit firms of the ICS - including AQM – carried out 2,880 audits all over the world on behalf of the 20 member brands. The audit grid leans on the ICS Code of conduct which outlines the specific principles to be followed by factories, those same principles are based on the fundamental conventions of the ILO (International Labor Organization).
During that year, the majority of audited factories achieved sufficient results in terms of compliance with fundamental principles relating to child labour (94% of the factories audited by ICS in 2014 were complying with the standards), discrimination (99%), disciplinary practices (97%) and forced labour (99%).
However, those audits also showed that important progress is still needed in the textile-producing countries especially in Asia. This is notably the case as regards the workers’ health and safety as 37% of audited factories were not conformed to the requirements. In addition, only 45% of them were complying with the working and overtime hours allowed by the law. The low workers’ remuneration and the lack of freedom of association are also big issues in factories which were audited by the ICS in 2014.
THE FUTURE OF THE ICS
As the ICS wants to consolidate its actions and to move beyond social compliance, it has already established new objectives for 2015. They mainly focus on updating the tools used by members (audit questionnaire, factory profiles, corrective action plans, IT tools…) and on establishing Capacity Building processes to develop supplier expertise and ensure the lasting improvement of working conditions.
The ICS has also initiated discussions with the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). Both initiatives are complementary and follow the same vision “making lasting improvements to people’s working conditions as well as supporting suppliers in a responsible manner, encouraging them to become actors in improving their own processes”. Therefore, ICS and BSCI are studying the ways and means for a possible fusion. “Through this process, both initiatives will as well avoid duplication of efforts and costs by pooling resources from ICS’ extensive auditing experience and BSCI’s expertise in monitoring, stakeholder engagement and training activities”.