Filipino manufacturers and exporters of garments and apparel are encouraged to make their operations socially compliant to increase acceptance of their products by the foreign buyers.
Robert Young, trustee for the textile, yarn and fabric sector of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) and president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP), bared they are gearing up to conduct the “second season” of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) roadshow related to garments and apparel industry this March and April.
“As of now, we have a severe shortage of suppliers for export and we found that there are some which are existing however, not (socially) compliant,” he said.
“When I say not compliant, they are not aware such as thing as auditing system that you have to be socially compliant meaning, no child labor, (compliance with the) minimum wage, safety of the workers, as per all the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) rules, regulations and requirements, up to the latest regulation of DOLE,” he added.
Young said importing countries, especially the United States, European Union, Canada and Australia, are becoming “very strict” that all the goods that are entering their countries are manufactured by socially-compliant factories.
“So much rules, new rules and regulations are now introduced that will have to be updated otherwise, the goods will be denied entry to their country and this will cost delay and losses to the factories in the Philippines,” he said, citing as examples the rules and regulations on the use of chemicals and origin of materials.
For the second season of the roadshow titled “The Importance of CSR in the Export Industry”, Young said FOBAP and PHILEXPORT plan to expand its coverage to the Bicol area, two provinces in Mindanao perhaps Cagayan de Oro and Davao or Cotabato –areas that have exporters of products that FOBAP is buying.
Participants to the lectures of experts from the foreign buyers include the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and even big companies with 2,000 employees, he said.
Young said there will be at least four to five factories of exporting companies in each province that will be participating in the CSR roadshow.
“(The lectures are) all about CSR, explaining from A to Z. What is its objective and when do you need this CSR compliance and how much will it cost you? And what will be the rewards, the rewards are very important because mostly in the mindset in the Filipino exporters, this is only an additional expense which is entirely false,” he said.
“They don’t realize that this will be an addition to their business. In case there like big buyers to come, they will qualify and they can get first in-line to supply these big buyers,” he added.
Young further said the “first season” of CSR roadshow over a year ago was conducted in Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan and two areas in Metro Manila.
“The first (one) was very successful that they are again clamoring in fact for a repeat. The Bataan free trade zone (particularly) is clamoring for a repeat, they now have new locators, exporters,” he said. “Four of five of them already qualified to be exporters due to
the lesson plan that we gave them.”