Pleased to join the APSCA Stakeholder Board

Street view from Schenzhen ChinaChina is by far the most important supplier country in the global value chains. Multiple approaches to verifying, and ensuring correct labour and environmental conditions and behaviour are critically important elements of global trade. A key role is played by social auditing which lays a foundation to securing and improving workers' rights and working conditions. The photo is from Shenzhen.

Yesterday the final agreement was made for me to be part of the Stakeholder Board of APSCA. The Association for Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA) is a new organisation created by the world’s leading social and environmental auditing companies.

Already for some years I have been pushing for the industry itself to get together to defend both the quality and the credibility of serious and professionally qualified auditing. I am happy to see that this has now been done.

I was pleased to accept the invitation of APSCA as I am convinced that social and environmental auditing will continue to play a key role in laying a credible and useful foundation for protecting human rights and improving labour conditions. The Stakeholder Board will bring into the organisation’s work the expectations and views of brands and retailers, civil society organisations, independent experts and others.

In most supplier countries it would take a long time before labour relations built on collective agreements, protective legislation and an efficient government control and labour inspection can take over completely. To ensure positive change, a multitude of approaches and involving different global and local partners are needed. Among the most important participants in this work are the environmental and social auditors.

About the Author

Jan Furstenborg
I started my working life as education secretary for the Finnish secondary students' association Suomen Teiniliitto in 1967. From 1969 to 1986 I was employed by the Finnish trade union movement and held many different positions in the commercial workers' union. In 1986 I started to work for FIET, one of the predecessors and founders of the present UNI Global Union. At first I worked with organisation development and education in the developing world and was actively engaged in the integration of unions in the new market economies of Central and Eastern Europe. At the end of 2009 I left my position as Head of UNI Commerce Global Union where I was responsible for the Global and European trade union work and the sector social dialogue within EU and with leading multinationals. Since then I have worked with governments, standard organisations, companies, trade unions, and others to promote social responsibility, environmental sustainability, dialogue and partnership. I have retained my longstanding membership on the Advisory Board (now through the Founders Committee) and the Board of Directors of Social Accountability International SAI, known for its SA8000 Social Standard. I am also member of the Advisory Board of the Global Social Compliance Programme GSCP where I have participated actively in the work since the initiative was launched. Early 2015 I was invited by the Global Organic Textile Standard GOTS to advise them on social and labour issues as a member of their Technical Committee. In addition, I am a member of the Stakeholder Board of the newly established Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors APSCA. I share my time between Helsinki, Finland and Founex, Switzerland.