Chair, ICTI CARE Foundation Inc. Governance Board
On the back of our first Governance Board meeting for 2021, I am delighted to have the opportunity to share a few of my thoughts in this issue of our newsletter.
Priorities for 2021
IETP continues its focus on growth in 2021. The Governance Board has confirmed the priorities for the year to ensure that we remain the program of choice for responsible companies. We are doing this in a number of ways.
In response to the tremendous demand from buyers and suppliers, IETP continues to expand its geographical coverage to support the diversification of global supply chains including the USA, the UK, Mainland Europe, Mexico, Cambodia, and the United Arab Emirates. This geographical expansion has resulted in growth in program participation and will enable further growth in 2021.
In stepping up efforts to combat modern slavery and end child labor, we have developed a new Social Impact Assessment (SIA) Program that allows companies to gain a new level of oversight beyond its 1st tier suppliers. While it is not a replacement for an on-site social audit, it enables companies to take cost-effective first steps in assessing the effectiveness of their supply chain partners' management systems to ensure their compliance with requisite labor standards.
To help our members better connect with their global suppliers, we have upgraded IETP’s Online Responsible Sourcing Platform Connect to improve its user interface with enhanced tools and functionality. These allow members to better analyze, benchmark, and manage their suppliers’ compliance, thereby reducing the risk of compliance-related supply chain disruptions.
Beyond these 2 improvements, we have ambitions to further scale the impact of our program to even more factories and include other services that add value to our members. Our ambitions are a direct result of our continued ability to engage with our community. Despite the global pandemic in 2020, IETP staff achieved over 90% engagement with its global factory and buyer members. This engagement is critical to delivering education, support, and advice for our global community. In 2021, we are committed to achieving even greater engagement with our stakeholders.
A Diversified Governance Board
One of the great strengths of IETP is the diversity of its Board, made up of high caliber individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences derived from global brands, retailers, factories, industry associations, and civil society. Our Board members share insights that complement IETP’s dedicated and committed leadership team.
My personal journey with the Board started when I was appointed to serve in 2016, and I have been humbled by my fellow Board members’ support in allowing me to serve as chair since 2020. We have now revamped our Board committees to provide even stronger governance in 4 key areas, namely Growth, Program Development, Governance & Nominations, and Finance & Audit. The 4 committees of the Governance Board provide guidance and support to the IETP team in meeting the needs of the stakeholders we serve.
As we continue to search for new talent to join us, I am delighted to welcome our newest Governance Board member - Heather Canon, Senior Director for Responsible Sourcing at Target. You can learn more about Heather and my esteemed board colleagues here.
Collaboration for Impact
It requires collaboration to support our members’ evolving needs and we are proud of our dedicated staff and members of our Technical Advisory Council chaired by Mr. Lawrence Chan for their untiring efforts. Our community of industry partners, including national and provincial Toy Associations, Social Accountability International (SAI), The Centre for Child Rights & Business (formerly CCR CSR), the Mekong Club, and many more are instrumental to our success and we continue to be grateful for their support in helping us realize our mission of protecting and improving the lives of workers in supply chains.
Since its inception over 16 years ago, IETP is internationally recognized for its robust social compliance certification, capability-building programs, and worker well-being initiatives. These initiatives are proven to provide our members with the assurance required to operate their supply chains with confidence, knowing that workers in IETP program manufacturing facilities are treated with respect and work in conditions that are safe and healthy.
If you have not yet joined our community of responsible businesses, I invite you to get involved and join other like-minded businesses to create a greater impact in the communities where you operate.