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Do codes of conduct do more harm than good?

Strategic choices on global sourcing from emerging markets - Do codes of conduct do more harm than good? Event in Copenhagen, Denmark on 8 February.

8 February 2007

Companies are being faced with increasing scrutiny of labour and environmental practices in their global supply chains. But are workers and their communities really benefiting from these codes? This event will explore this question.

Date: February 8, 2007

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Host and Organiser: The Copenhagen Centre & European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS)

Event Background: Part of the CSR Platform project led by European Academy of Business in Society undertaken with the financial support of the European Community under the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union (FP6).

Programme & Registration form:

The Focus of the Day:
Today companies face increasingly rigorous scrutiny of labour and environmental practices in their global supply chains. Many have implemented codes of conduct aimed at improving their performance – codes of conduct can be used to operationalise ethics and social responsibility and to communicate corporate values to supply chain partners. But are workers and their communities really benefiting from these codes?

This workshop challenges the idea that simply complying with codes of conduct in emerging markets will automatically bring about improvements in the social and environmental conditions of workers and communities. The focus is on assessment of the actual impacts, rather than the claimed impacts, of codes of conduct, an issue that has received limited attention to date. The goals of the workshop are (1) to provide useful insights on how globally sourcing companies can most effectively assess the impacts of their codes of conduct and (2) to identify key questions that new research could be constructively be designed to pursue to produce more effective application of codes of conduct in the future.

Keynote Speaker:
The keynote speaker will be Dr Stephanie Barrientos (University of Succex) senior author of the most comprehensive study to date of the impacts of a uniform code of conduct (the Ethical Trading Initiative). This study investigated 23 sites in India, Vietnam, South Africa, Costa Rica and the UK that supply 11 companies in the garment, footwear and food industries in the UK to determine whether the code of conduct used was achieving the desired results. Her presentation will provide a practical guide to improving the impacts of codes of labour practice for the intended beneficiaries. She will also draw attention to negative consequences that may eventuate from well-intended efforts. The workshop will also include a panel addressing the question “Do codes of conduct do more harm than good?” as well as several interactive sessions involving the participants and senior industry and academic commentators.

A multi-stakeholder audience is invited with representatives of the business community, policy-makers, representatives of civil society as well as university faculty members/researchers.All details of the event are available at:

For more information please contact: Lis Andreasen, Administrative Coordinator, The Copenhagen Centre, Tel: +45 3815 2360, Fax: +45 3815 2370, e-mail:

Established in 2002 by leading companies and business schools in partnership with the EU Commission, EABIS is Europe’s leading reference point for corporate responsibility. The organisation aims to integrate corporate responsibility into the mainstream of business theory and practice in Europe. EABIS funds collaborative research, education and training projects and hosts numerous events and workshops across Europe to develop more and better knowledge and learning on corporate responsibility. It also leads the EU Commission funded ‘European Platform for Excellence on CSR’ (CSR Platform) project as the designated centre for excellence on CSR Research under the Sixth Framework Programme. With a European focus, but a global outlook, EABIS’ membership currently spans four continents and 19 countries and includes some of the world’s largest global corporations including Shell, Unilever, IBM, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft and Europe’s top business schools such as Ashridge, INSEAD, IMD and the London Business School.


Corporate Social Responsbility