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The ETI Base

About ETI

For 20 years, ETI and our members have been a driving force in ethical trade. We influence business to act responsibly and promote decent work. Together, we tackle the complex challenges of today’s global supply chains, improving the lives of workers worldwide.

Taking a unique approach to business and human rights, our members are forwardthinking companies, trade unions and NGOs. By adopting ETI’s internationally recognised Base Code of labour standards, our members strive to keep workers safe and free from exploitation.

1914 translation by H. Rackham

But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?"

Our members include:

More than 80 global companies and well-known brands such as John Lewis/ Waitrose, Marshalls, Inditex, Primark, Burberry and Stella McCartney. Public sector organisations such as Transport for London and supplier companies including Finlays, Li & Fung, Matrix and Union Hand-Roasted.

Union federations representing over 180 million workers worldwide via the Trades Union Congress and the International Trade Union Confederation, and through them, actively engaged affiliated unions

NGOs operating in more than 40 countries, including large charities like Save the Children, CARE International and Oxfam, as well as more specialised organisations such as Partner Africa, Dalit Solidarity Network and Homeworkers Worldwide.

About the ETI Base Code

The ETI Base Code is founded on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and is an internationally recognised code of good labour practice.

It is viewed as a global reference standard and is widely used as a benchmark against which to conduct social audits and develop ethical trade action plans.

The provisions of the Base Code constitute minimum and not maximum standards. Companies applying this code are expected to comply with national and other applicable laws. Where the law and the Base Code address the same subject, companies are expected to apply the provision that affords the greater protection to workers.

All our members aspire to helping their suppliers meet all aspects of the Base Code in full and they commit to continuous improvement in pursuit of this goal. ETI exists to support them on this journey.

Driving improvements in company supply chains

By joining ETI, a company agrees to demonstrate a clear commitment to ethical trade, to integrate ethical trade into core business practices, and to tackle any issues that arise in the supply chain.

As a first step, our member companies commit to the ETI Base Code and follow our principles of implementation, which guide their approach to ethical trade. Companies report to us annually on their efforts and the results they are achieving at farm or factory level.

We believe that deep-seated worker rights issues are best tackled through collaborative action. We harness the expertise, skills and resources of our alliance members to identify these issues and develop innovative, longlasting solutions.

There are limits to what companies can achieve by working alone. ETI members work in partnership to find solutions to the problems that occur in individual workplaces, but that also affect entire countries and industries.