The apparel sector employs more than 60 million workers worldwide, and has contributed significantly to reducing global poverty by creating opportunities for unskilled workers, young women, and migrant workers to move into the formal labor market.
The apparel supply chain is global, comprised millions of small, medium and large manufacturers in every region of the world, all operating under pressure to hold down costs, innovate products and deliver on tight deadlines. Many of these manufacturers are in countries where governance over fire and building safety, labor conditions, and pollution controls is weak. Recent tragedies, like the Tazreen fire and the Rana Plaza collapse which took 1,200 lives in Bangladesh, have highlighted the need for higher standards for worker safety.
IFC is bringing together public and private stakeholders, including international apparel buyers, supplier factory owners, governments, industry organizations, and other international partners to promote environment and social sustainability of the apparel industry.
‘Better Work’ is a partnership between IFC and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Launched in 2007, it now reaches more than 1 million workers, of whom 82% are women, in more than 1,000 factories worldwide.