Policy brief

Getting beyond tier 1

Using a systems approach to improve working conditions in global supply chains

October 20208 pages Indonesia Thailand Vietnam Decent work & employment Read the report
Published by
ILO, Lab

Engaging with suppliers beyond tier one (i.e. vendors) is particularly challenging. But it is vital, as the biggest social and environmental risks often lie hidden further down the supply chain.

The ILO Lab has been using a systems approach to understand how to better reach small and medium enterprises at scale, in a way that builds both capacities and incentives to improve working conditions. This brief outlines why a systems approach is important. It describess key lessons learnt by the Lab:

  • a systems approach is analysis-led
  • systems change is a long-term play
  • a systems approach needs to be part of business strategy
  • a systems lens is critical for transformational change

Two case studies from the garments and auto-parts chains in Asia help to illustrate the issues.