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Transparency Factsheet


BFC is committed to supporting the competitiveness of the Cambodian garment industry and helping to maintain the reputation of Cambodia as an ethical sourcing destination. This fact sheet provides an introduction to BFC’s renewed public disclosure program, designed in consultation with stakeholders, to improve working conditions. 

BFC’s return to its earlier practice of publicly disclosing factory-specific compliance information has these objectives:

  1. Build the Cambodian garment industry’s reputation for decent working conditions and keep pace with competing industries where disclosure of ILO factory compliance data will soon be the norm;
  2. Bolster enforcement efforts by the Royal Government of Cambodia;
  3. Spur significant changes in factories with chronically low compliance; and,
  4. Accelerate improvements in working conditions on critical issues across the industry.

Types of public disclosure

  • Critical Issues. BFC measures all factories with two or more assessments against 21 critical issues. In the first year of the program, factories can request a BFC verification visit to confirm improvements before disclosure.
  • Low Compliance. Factories with three or more BFC assessments are measured against 52 legal requirements. Factories with the lowest compliance levels—those falling two standard deviations below the mean for compliance—are eligible for this second level of public disclosure. Results for this small group of factories are based on assessments no older than 12 months and factories can request one BFC verification visit.
  • Union Compliance. BFC findings regarding unions compliance with strike requirements for are published.

New data for all types of disclosure will be published quarterly on the BFC Transparency Database website where factories are able to post information about their performance.

Mechanics and timeline (First year of program)

  • Time to make improvements. Beginning in December 2013, factories, and subscribing buyers receive BFC Critical Issues and Low Compliance reports as factories are assessed. These reports detail the compliance information that will be disclosed publicly and factories are given at least 60 days between issuance of the reports and public disclosure to make improvements.
  • Government enforcement. These reports are shared at the same time with the Royal Government of Cambodia in order that the government may utilize its enforcement mechanisms to improve compliance before disclosure.  In an effort to further leverage improvements, reports are also shared with the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and buyers that subscribe to receive BFC reports in each factory.
  • Verifying improvements. Factories are able to request verification of changes made after delivery of BFC’s reports.  BFC will charge factories for verification visits, which take place at least 60 days after delivery of BFC’s Critical Issues and Low Compliance reports.
  • Learning curve and sustainable changes. These reports and verification requests will be available for each factory’s first instance of public disclosure. After the first 12 months of the program, factories can be expected to sustain their improvements and remain compliant with these fundamental requirements.
  • Ongoing factory input. Factories can post information regarding their compliance on the public disclosure website at any time after their information appears on the site.  All viewers of the site will be able to see the information posted by factories.

Transparency Database Frequently Asked Questions

Which factories will be included in Transparency reports and who will get copies of factory’s Critical Issues and Low Compliance reports? When will they be included in public disclosure reports?

As they are assessed following the start of the program in October 2013, all factories receive Critical Issues Reports showing which requirements are met and which are not met. These reports are based on the factory’s most recent (post-1 October 2013) assessment only.

Brands receive these reports if they subscribe to receive that factory’s BFC report. The Royal Government of Cambodia receives copies of all Critical Issues and Low Compliance Reports in order that it may use its enforcement powers to help accelerate improvements in working conditions.  GMAC also receives the reports so that it may work with its members to improve factory compliance.

Critical Issues compliance (21 issues). All factories with two or more assessments are eventually included in the Transparency Database. Which report they appear in depends on when they are assessed. For example, factories assessed by BFC in October 2013 appear in the first Transparency report released in March 2014, but factories assessed in March 2014, appear in the second report of 2014. BFC will not report findings from earlier assessments and issues on the list are not weighted.

Low Compliance (52 issues). Factories with three or more assessments are eligible for inclusion in the Low Compliance report. This small group of factories will have their compliance with these 52 issues disclosed based on the factory’s most recent assessment only from the previous 12-month period.

Will child labour be disclosed?

Factories with “unremediated child labour” will be disclosed publicly. However, factories that remediate confirmed cases of child labour will not be disclosed. The BFC remediation protocol requires that factories remove children from the factory, continue salary payments until age 15, and pay for training programs for the child worker.

Are there limits on materials that factories can post on the BFC public disclosure website?

BFC wants factories to post evidence of improvements to working conditions on the public disclosure website. The site will be moderated to ensure that postings are related to each factory’s working conditions. There are no limits—at present—on the size of files that factories can upload to the website.

Why will BFC only verify improvements for the first year of the Transparency program?

The measures disclosed are basic requirements in Cambodian labour law and core international labour standards. Factories that have had two or more BFC assessments can be expected to demonstrate ongoing compliance with these basic standards. For its first assessment after the re-introduction of BFC’s transparency program, each factory has at least 60 days to come into compliance. The Royal Government of Cambodia will also be alerted in order that it may use its enforcement powers to help accelerate improvements in working conditions. Factories can request that these improvements be verified by BFC before disclosure.

Can verification of improvements before disclosure be done by groups other than BFC?

No, BFC must verify improvements if a finding of non-compliance is to be removed before publication in the Transparency Database.

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