The Consortium’s mission is to end public purchasing from sweatshops and help its members make sweatfree purchases more effectively and less expensively than any single one could accomplish on its own.
To accomplish this mission the Consortium coordinates and represents public officials and others who seek to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not spent on products made in sweatshops, and serves as a coordinating body and resource center for public entities and other organizations that share this goal.
Over the past several years, many U.S. state and local governments have recognized the problem of sweatshops in their supply chains. They have put in place laws and policies committing to purchasing products that are made in decent working conditions. Founded in May 2010, the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium arises out of a desire of these public entities to coordinate their efforts and to promote similar initiatives among other governmental entities.
The Consortium is governed by a Board of Directors, which includes representatives of public entities and labor rights experts. For details on our governance see the Consortium bylaws.
Credible research and monitoring organizations report severe and widespread human rights and labor rights violations in the global apparel industry in virtually every major producer country. Workers are often paid poverty wages for long hours of work in unsafe and abusive conditions.
When governments purchase products made in conditions that violate international and national labor standards, taxpayers’ dollars inadvertently increase the downward pressure on labor standards and wages, accelerating a global race to the bottom which undermines job security and erodes wellbeing everywhere.
But government procurement does not have to contribute to this sweatshop problem.
Government procurement is a significant economic force, one that governments can use responsibly to promote decent working conditions, good wages, and compliance with labor standards. “Sweatfree” procurement at its core means that workers who make the products bought by governments enjoy lawful working conditions and wages. The Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium also recognizes that all workers have the right to fully exercise their human and labor rights, and to earn living wages for work in dignified conditions. While intended to ensure that tax dollars are not spent on products made in sweatshop conditions, sweatfree procurement can also help improve working conditions, strengthen working families and their communities, and create a more secure world. Sweatfree procurement is both a moral imperative and an economic tool for the common good.
A significant number of U.S. public entities have committed to buying only sweatfree products. As it grows, the market for decent working conditions will create more qualified vendors and better workplaces for increasing numbers of workers. The rules of competition will no longer favor businesses that produce the cheapest possible goods at the expense of workers, but those that provide good value without unlawfully sacrificing humane working conditions and disregarding workers' human and labor rights.
We invite you to learn more about the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium. Peruse this website and feel free to contact us.