What is the Ethical Trading Initiative?
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is an alliance of companies, trade unions and non governmental organisations that promotes respect for workers’ rights through lobbying and helping brands create and enforce fair codes of labour.
Brands and retailers which are part of the alliance take responsibility for improving the working conditions of workers in our modern, vast and complex supply chains.
These codes are based on nine areas: freely chosen employment; freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected; safe and hygienic working conditions; absence of child labour; paid living wages; no excessive working hours; no discrimination; regular employment, as well as no harsh and inhumane treatment.
A brief history of the Ethical Trading Initiative
In the mid 1990s, NGOs and the media revealed the exploitation and poor treatment of garment workers by companies in the fashion industry. Scandals, such as Nike’s sweatshops, hit the news and as a result, companies started to adopt codes of labour practice governing the working conditions of the people in their supply chains.
It is in this context that the Ethical Trading Initiative was created, in 1998, aiming at creating a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination, and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity. ASDA, Premier Brands, The Body Shop, Littlewoods and Sainsbury’s joined that year and nowadays the initiative counts over 90 companies, collectively reaching nearly ten million workers across the globe.