Tool 2

Communicating Decent Work to Suppliers

What’s in this tool?

Approaches for buyers on how to communicate on decent work and guidance on gathering supplier feedback on the impact of buying practices. It also includes three quick reference handouts for buyers:

  • What is decent work and why is it important
  • Why it matters to suppliers
  • How to make the most of supplier visits to promote decent work – including a visit checklist


When it comes to engaging suppliers on decent work conditions for their workers and in their supply chains, there are a number of things to bear in mind. As a basis, a robust legal and contractual-based approach for ensuring suppliers support to decent work issues should be put in place. Beyond that, it’s key to consider:

  • When to discuss decent work, and when it might not be the right time to do so
  • How to encourage open and frank communication
  • How to ensure suppliers feel safe to share their concerns and give feedback

It is also important to be clear about what you want to achieve by communicating with suppliers about decent work. Ultimately, you want suppliers to:

  • See the value in supporting decent work in their supply chains
  • Demonstrate they are willing to work with you:
    • To encourage and support decent work in your supply chains
    • To identify decent work deficits in your supply chains
    • To work with you to identify and address the root causes
    • To speak the same language as you when it comes to human and labour rights and promote respect for these rights
  • Understand how important decent work is for your company, and for your ongoing relationship with them.