What this tool does
ENGAGE gives workers a channel to report working conditions, suppliers clarity on their workers’ lives, and retailers supply chain transparency. Our rating tool enables retailers (along with suppliers,industry associations and unions) to understand working conditions in any link in any supply chain directly from the workers. The tool doesn’t replace existing systems such as auditing, but works to enhance the impact of existing systems and standards by enabling direct worker participation.
How does it work?
ENGAGE uses a pre-recorded voice survey in the worker’s language of choice and simple response options. Audiences requiring insight into the working conditions on a particular site – suppliers themselves, industry associations and unions, compliance bodies and auditors, public sector agencies, exporting agencies and retailers – can access analytics through a series of dashboards available on the platform. The dashboards summarise the data from workers using a traffic light system.
Here are two of our dashboards:
What have we learnt from workers?
For workers, ethical trading is all about the auditor’s inspection visit and the preparation that precedes it. Examples of smoke-screening and relapses into non-compliant practices post-audit are common. Workers worry about the lack of anonymity, and the invisibility of working conditions outside of the ‘in-out’ auditor’s visit. Existing channels for participation are limited and limiting. Our tool prioritises gathering anonymous input from every worker.
What have we learnt from retailers?
Retailers and consumers want ethical supply chains, and this requires optimal transparency. Legislative changes mean that the retailer now has to carry final responsibility for supply chain transparency, and many retailers are uncertain about how to go about achieving this. Reports by investigative journalists about unethical labour practices are also increasingly common. The Toooday Tool provides up-to-date insights to retailers, suppliers and other bodies with an appetite for change rather than scandal.
What have we learnt from suppliers?
The existing system – largely reliant on 3 to 5 yearly audits to check compliance – doesn’t focus on helping suppliers to improve working conditions. The orientation is closer to one of pass or fail. Medium to small-scale suppliers lack the necessary skills and capacity to develop and protect their relationship with their labour force. Insights provided by workers using our tool will help to focus interventions and capacity building on suppliers who need this most. Toooday also helps suppliers and retailers vet sub-contractors who bring in labour for seasonal work and peak periods.
What have we learnt from auditors and compliance bodies?
While audits remain invaluable, they are insufficient. Auditors and certification agencies know that the snapshot we get through the lens of the ethical audit offers a partial picture, and often excludes seasonal workers. Complaint phone lines and the invitation for workers to contact auditors outside of visits have been used with limited success.
ENGAGE offers year round transparency, triggering audits in cases where audits are needed. A system using direct worker reporting alongside audits can generate a more reliable picture at lower cost.