What is a code of conduct and why should brands have one?

At CCC, we define a brand’s code of conduct as the detailed standards to which it holds its supplier(s) accountable. Brands are adopting this tool in response to our campaigning late 90s with other labour rights organisations. Nowadays, nearly all brands have a code of conduct.

Codes of conduct vary in content and level of commitment. That’s why we push brands to substantiate their code of conduct with provisions for implementation, monitoring and verification, and dispute resolution. A paper with intentions is worth little to the workers in a factory, they need to see how these intentions are implemented.

For a code of conduct to meet CCC standards, the scope must be accessible to all garment-making units in the entire subcontracting chain. Our Model Code encompasses the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and additional criteria. These include:

  • Freedom of association
  • The right to organise
  • The right to collective bargaining
  • A living wage
  • Maximum limit on hours of work
  • Healthy and safe working conditions
  • Security of employment
  • No discrimination
  • No forced labour
  • No child labour

With these expectations in place, consumers and coalitions gain the opportunity to hold brands accountable per international labour standards. The tool is no substitute for the lawful protection of garment workers, but it can provide leverage for better working conditions and mitigate rights violations in the industry.