Consultation on Responsible Business Conduct and Competition in Supply Chains

The International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), invites Employer Organizations and Sectoral Associations to join with Small and Medium Enterprises for a consultation on Responsible Business Conduct and Competition in Supply Chains.

The event aims to draw on expert speakers and participants to explore the modern business landscape and drivers for Responsible Business Conduct, showcase new and innovative approaches, and discuss how Employer and Business Membership Organizations (E/BMOs), lead firms and other key actors can work to create the enabling conditions to promote SME competitiveness in this area.


Suppliers in South Asia are under increasing pressure to ensure high standards of due diligence are practiced as consumers become more aware of where their products come from and the conditions under which they were made; and investors begin to look more carefully at how companies identify and address the impact they have. To remain competitive or gain entry to these supply chains, this pressure means SME in the lower tiers of export sectors must look to adopt higher social and environmental standards.

Yet despite their significance to global production systems and the important contribution they make to South Asian economies, the conventional business and human rights agenda has offered little to SMEs. Most remain untouched by and unaware of such work and those that have been exposed have usually been on the receiving end of top-down supply chain standards imposed by large companies, with little in the way of practical support to assist in the transition to more responsible business conduct.

Such firms face a number of practical challenges:
  • existing codes of conduct and supply chain standards tend to be too complicated for smaller firms to interpret and apply, and there is difficulty understanding the minimum requirements for RBC where a direct trading relationship with lead firms does not exist;
  • a lack of human and financial resources to implement the required procedures;
  • gaps in policy, regulation or infrastructure to address SME needs and enable such investment by enterprises;
  • competing business priorities due to the vulnerable nature of many SMEs - meaning many are forced to prioritise short-term economic survival over investments without immediate or guaranteed return.
In responding to this situation, Employer and Business Membership Organizations (E/BMOs) can and do play a critical role by:
  • representing to the relevant authorities the obstacles that SME members face and, on their own or with the assistance of other institutions, advocating for appropriate policy, regulatory or infrastructure improvement;
  • disseminating information and channelling feedback about policy and regulation to SME members and providing a potentially supportive constituency for the successful implementation of policy and regulation;
  • encouraging unorganized enterprises into the organized sector by insisting on registration as a condition of membership, but also voicing demand for improvements in public services as the quid pro quo for registration;
  • representing entrepreneurs who have political deficits based on gender, disability, remote location or other socially disadvantaged sub group identity;
  • initiating industry standards or resolving industry conflicts internally and so strengthening the private sector without need for government intervention.

Workshop Objectives

The workshop will be an opportunity for participants to share their insights into and experience of efforts to improve social and environmental standards among SMEs with the aim of identifying effective tools, strategies and partnership models to accelerate work. In the context of promoting Responsible Business Practices as a strategy for tackling forced labour and human trafficking, the event will also be an opportunity for small firms, sectoral associations, and Employers to articulate unmet needs which could be addressed by the ILOs Global Business Network on Forced Labour and Human Trafficking in 2018/19.

Download the Agenda

Participant Profile

The consultation aims to engage small and medium sized enterprises1 from different sectors with an interest in and exposure to work on responsible business practices, the business and human rights agenda, and/or supply chain standards. Employers Organizations and Sectoral Associations from the region already engaged on these issues and serving SME are also invited.

While different levels of expertise and experience on the issues are expected, it is important that participants have enough background to articulate unmet needs for support. Firms need not be a member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) or other E/BMOs, nor have any pre-existing relationship with the ILO in order to participate.

Please note the event will be conducted in English with Hindi interpretation provided. A balanced representation of women and men is encouraged. A tentative agenda has been attached for your consideration.


To register your participation in the event, please complete the Nomination Form and return no later than 12 March 2018 to with CC

Upon receipt of the RSVP, further information about logistical arrangements can be shared.

Please note that due to the interactive nature of the event only limited seats are available and RSVP will be confirmed on a first in first served basis. In the unfortunate event that you should need to cancel, please let the team know as soon as possible so that we can try to re-allocate available spaces.

About the Global Business Network

The Global Business Network on Forced Labour and Human Trafficking is a new partnership being formed among the ILO, multinational and domestic enterprises, employers' organizations, and business associations to call for a broader-based, expanded response that addresses the distinctive characteristics of forced labour and human trafficking. By calling for a broader-based, expanded response to address the distinctive characteristics of forced labour and human trafficking, the Global Business Network aims to influence policy makers, work with business representative organisations to reach out to small and medium sized enterprises, and to shape collective action in ways that leverage comparative advantages to deliver scalable solutions. Membership will eventually be open to companies of all sizes and location, as well as Employers Organizations, business associations and industry groups.

Other Information

For further information and inquiries please contact the following:

Mr. Wade Bromley
International Labour Organization (ILO) - Tel: +41 (0)22 799 6788