One of WethicA’s core services is conducting social audits on behalf of our clients. Respecting our client relationships require strict confidentiality on our part regarding audit results. Results are only disclosed to clients and are only sent out at their request. Our auditors go on-site to inspect labor conditions and working environment, and they witness the production process of not only the goods of our customers, but also of other brands. We include the list of brands in our analyses and reports, but disclosing such information to outside sources would be violating confidentiality and code of ethics.
Recently, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma, an ethical one. WethicA was created with the purpose of improving working conditions on a global scale. Believing a commercial approach allows us to work with companies as equals motivated by the similar inherent interests, our pragmatic and result-driven approach ensures these partnerships are effective and successful.
Working with clients means we must follow the strictest code of integrity. One of our recent audits in Turkey found a child of 12 years old working in a textile factory. Immediately informing our client, we worked to resolve this critical issue. But the success in solving this issue so quickly was short-lived. Wielding minimal influence, our client, capturing only a small share of the factory’s production capacity, needed support from the other factory clients to impact sustainable change in child labor policies. In such cases, several clients are necessary in requesting the factory to improve conditions to ensure maximum efficiency of child remediation program and labor improvement action. But this leaves WethicA in a tough situation: how can we improve labor practices when we prohibited from directly contacting the other brands and disclosing audit results, even when it only serves to benefit them to know their factory has employed a 12-year child worker.
There is an effective solution to this sticky issue of confidentiality. With their agreement, we offer to help contact the other brands for our clients to build a collaborative effort by all brands involved in achieving the same objective. In the likely situation a client disagrees with contacting the other brands, our objectives for improvement in a factory will be adjusted accordingly to more realistic outcomes.
For WethicA to progress in our mission in improving labor conditions worldwide, our continued success is only possible with the full cooperation and determined resolve of our clients to better manage and improve the social consciousness levels of their suppliers.