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IFC-ILO Better Work Conference Promotes Improved Labor Standards, Increased Competitiveness

Published 11-19-09

Submitted by International Finance Corporation

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the International Labour Organization are meeting today with governments, garment industry leaders, and labor-related organizations to promote labor standards for millions of workers and expand efforts to increase companies' competitiveness in global markets.

IFC and ILO are hosting a conference, Harnessing Global Incentives for Development, to discuss lessons learned in the past decade from experiences of Better Factories Cambodia, an initiative under the joint IFC-ILO Better Work partnership program. Launched in 2006, Better Work seeks to improve labor standards and competitiveness in global supply chains.

The conference highlights successful elements that led to the growth of Cambodia's textile sector, such as increasing dialogue at the factory level, implementing dispute settlement mechanisms, building mature industrial relations, and improving the investment climate.

"Collaboration among government, local industry leaders, and international brands continues to be instrumental in achieving the success that Better Work Factories and Better Work have experienced in the last 10 years," said Greg Radford, IFC Director for Environment and Social Development. "While millions of workers are benefiting from these commitments, companies are becoming more competitive in the global marketplace and more likely to weather the financial crisis."

Major apparel companies that support the Better Work program also are attending the conference, including American Eagle Outfitters, Gap Inc, Jones Apparel, Levi Strauss & Co, Martha Stewart Living, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Walt Disney, and Wal-mart. The valued supporters will contribute a multistakeholder perspective.

"Better Work is supported widely by international buyers and local suppliers. This has made a significant impact on the lives of workers and their families, the performance of enterprises, and the economic and social development of the countries involved," said Ros Harvey, Global Director for the Better Work program.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries-including by helping improve labor standards to benefit millions of workers and businesses worldwide.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

For more information about ILO, visit www.ilo.org.

For more information about Better Work, visit www.betterwork.org.

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International Finance Corporation

International Finance Corporation

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services.

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