08 Oct Factory Audits Show Compliance Much Lower in Western China
Posted at 11:19h
Factories in Western China, where buyers have been chasing lower costs, scored significantly lower than those in China’s largest manufacturing hub, the Guangdong province, according to Asianinspection 2013 Q3 Barometer, which is published by a company that provides factory audits and other services to 2,700 importers worldwide.
Compliance rates in Western China averaged 5.91 out of a possible 10 points, compared with 7.1/10 in Guangdong, 6.12/10 in the North of China and 6.08/10 in the well-known eastern seaboard exporting provinces. The average compliance score within China in 2013 was 6.22/10.
“Buyers should be aware that shifting production to cheaper regions is likely at the cost of social compliance,” said Sebastien Breteau, CEO of AsiaInspection, which is based in Shenzhen, China. “Recent events through Asia have shown that the social and safety risk is very real for the whole supply chain. Chasing lower production costs must come with a holistic approach of on-site monitoring and auditing.”
AsiaInspection analyzed data from the Social Audits performed at factories in China, with all audits adhering to the internationally recognized SA 8000 or Sedex (SMETA) Standards for Social and Ethical Compliance. For the study, compliance scores were measured as a number between zero and ten, with ten representing full compliance
The company’s survey also found that the volume of factory accountability audits conducted across Asia surged 52 percent for Q3 2013 compared to Q3 2012. They spiked 167 percent spike in Bangladesh, where the Rana Plaza factory collapses killed more than 1,000 Bangladeshi garment workers in April, 2013.
Asianinspection attributed much of the growth to major North American retailers, brands and apparel companies, who founded the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster. Companies including Target, Gap, Walmart, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Kohl’s have pledged to achieve 100 percent inspections at all alliance factories by 2014.