Ethical trading is the best aid

Ethical trade is the best aid the Norwegian business sector and public sector can provide to workers in other countries. So says Anni Onsager, new manager of Initiative for ethical trade, having had a tough encounter with reality herself.

As a young manager and a buyer was Onsager in the late 80’s she was sent to Hong Kong to purchase teddy bears. She came to a factory where it looked like it was a blizzard inside. White polyester dust flew around in the air. Small children ran around.

“I could barely breathe. It was absolutely horrific conditions. I felt helpless, and I remember thinking that we can not buy anything from here. But was the it was then, very few thought that the working conditions in the supply chain. I remember the feeling having no place to get help,” says Onsager.

Dream job.

It therefore seems that she has been given a dream job as the new head of the Initiative for ethical trade (IEH), the organization that is working just to help buyers in companies and public bodies to promote good working conditions, environment and development in which the goods are produced. IEH was really known when the organization did not support its member Telenor in the wake of the Danish TV documentary that revealed life-hazardous working conditions at Telenor’s mast builders in Bangladesh.

The conditions were an eye-opener not only for Telenor, but for many other businesses who thought that “this could have been us,” emphasizes Onsager.

Ethical trade is the most important Norwegian industry and the public sector do to improve working conditions in developing countries. No other actors in the Norwegian development assistance can contribute to improvements for workers in other countries in the same way that the import business, she continues.

When the public sector, the biggest buyer, sets ethical requirements, the providers in the private sector to follow up, “said Onsager.

Source, Read More: Aftenposten

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