This new SPERI Global Political Economy Brief, based on research conducted at the Liu Institute by senior research fellow Jane Lister and associate Genevieve LeBaron presents new evidence and key findings and argues that:
• Ultimately, the audit regime is ‘working’ for corporations, but failing workers and the planet. Labour abuses, poor working conditions and environmental degradation within global supply chains remain widespread.
• Audits are ineffective tools for detecting, reporting, or correcting environmental and labour problems in supply chains. They reinforce existing business models and preserve the global production status quo.
• Audits reinforce the labour and environmental problems that civil society NGOs are striving to improve.
• The audit regime, with the involvement and support of NGOs, is reducing the role of states in regulating corporate behaviour and re-orientating global corporate governance towards the interests of private business and away from social goods.