Safeguarding Outsourced Labor

The Center focuses on the responsibility of international business for the well-being of workers in global supply chains, particularly those in low-wage manufacturing.

Since its founding, the Center has focused on the exploitation of workers in outsourced manufacturing, investigating tragedies like the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. Our work explores global buyers’ relationships with local partners, emphasizing reform in purchasing practices and collaboration for worker well-being.


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Broken Partnership
A Broken Partnership: How Clothing Brands Exploit Suppliers and Harm Workers –And What Can Be Done About It

Ten years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse, a new report from the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights calls for a reformed collaborative approach to the outsourced manufacturing of apparel—one that does not create unfair economic pressure on factory owners, who all too often respond to such exploitation by reducing wages and benefits for their poor employees.

Made In Ethiopia: Challenges In The Garment Industry’S New Frontier

We published a report examining how the global apparel industry operates in Ethiopia. The report features a set of nine recommendations for how the industry and the Ethiopian government, foreign manufacturers, and Western brands can address the human rights challenges created by the lowest wages in the entire global supply chain for clothing.

Five Years After Rana Plaza: The Way Forward

The Center’s report on factory safety in Bangladesh, finds that efforts by Western brands and retailers have resulted in safer factories but thousands of additional facilities still require remediation.

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Beyond The Tip Of The Iceberg: Bangladesh’s Forgotten Apparel Workers

The Center published an interactive map showing Bangladesh's 7,000 garment factories. This number is almost double prior estimates, shining a light on the scale of sub-contracting in global fashion supply chains. The map and accompanying report, were the result of a year-long study in which the Center systematically examined official records and conducted a survey of almost 500 factories

Business As Usual Is Not An Option: Supply Chains And Sourcing After Rana Plaza.

The collapse of Rana Plaza, which killed over 1,100 workers, revealed the safety risks and poor working conditions endemic in the Bangladeshi garment industry. On the basis of over 100 interviews and two convenings in New York and Dhaka, which brought buyers together with their local suppliers, we identified indirect sourcing as the problem most in need of greater attention.


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Quick Takes

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Protecting Migrant Workers
Migrant workers are, in certain industries, the most vulnerable employees in global supply chains.
Regulating Mining
Addressing human rights risks in mining lays the foundation for a just transition from burning fossil fuel to relying on renewable energy.