Analysis of selected ETI member companies’ gender initiatives in global supply chains

I am pleased to help the Ethical Trading Initiative circulate a call for expression of interest from Europe-based consultants with experience in the field of gender and global supply chains. The Ethical Trading Initiative needs up to eight consultants to perform a study of gender-related initiatives in the supply chain of its member companies, which include names as The Body Shop, H&M, Tesco and others.

More information about the Ethical Trading Initiatives, “an alliance of organizations that work together to define how major companies should implement their codes of labour practice in a credible way – and most importantly, in a way that has maximum impact on workers – can be found here.

Analysis of selected ETI member companies’ gender initiatives in global supply chains

ETI is seeking a consultant to conduct an analysis of the gender-related initiatives of one or more of our corporate members in relation to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Introduction and Background

Gender equality is a key priority for ETI in its 2020 Strategy. Under Pillar 1 of the Strategy (Lead in the application of the UNGPs in the area of workers’ rights) we are committed to working towards a world in which “women workers enjoy equal treatment with men in the workplace”. This means working with our members and other stakeholders to ensure that both women and men workers’ rights are protected and respected, and that they have equal access to remedy when their rights are abused. Their position within global supply chains means that our corporate members have a particular responsibility to uphold the ‘respect’ and ‘remedy’ aspects of the UNGPs.

Aware of the business benefits of investing in women and of the challenges women face in the workplace, a number of ETI members are themselves engaged in initiatives in global supply chains that particularly focus on women workers; there is a wide range of corporate approaches. Our trade union and NGO members have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in this area. We have invited members to work with ETI on a new initiative that enables companies, trade unions and NGOs to:

  • Learn from one another about these different approaches to promoting gender equality in global supply chains, to understand what works well, why, and what elements could be combined for greater effectiveness.
  • Learn what impact these approaches are actually having on both men and women workers
  • Understand how this learning can be applied to help strengthen members’ own initiatives
  • Review how sustainable, transferrable and scalable these initiatives are so that they can be better mainstreamed across the work of their organisations
  • Build a strong evidence base on strategies and approaches that sustainably increase women’s rights and opportunities in the workplace in relation to global supply chains.

With support from our trade union and NGO members and others, ETI will synthesise and share these lessons and insights with a wider audience of members and other key stakeholders and contribute to wider global public knowledge on this important subject.

We are working with leading experts on gender in global supply chains, University of Manchester’s Dr Lara Bianchi and Professor Stephanie Barrientos. Professor Barrientos has researched gender issues in global value chains for over 15 years and is about to publish her book; Retail Shift: Transforming work and gender in global value chains.

ETI has secured funds from DFID to make a pool of gender experts available to our members to conduct the gender analyses and draw together the lessons.

How will it work?

Relevant companies, trade unions and NGOs have been invited to a workshop on November 29th at which Prof. Barrientos will present her research finding, the gender analysis initiative will be discussed in more detail, the views and ideas of participants explored and the scope of this project for each organization agreed.

Following this workshop, we will match gender specialists with individual companies to help them scope and plan the gender analysis and to agree a timeframe for this work to be done.

While the analysis of each company’s gender work will be tailored to their particular needs and contexts, we will identify some cross-cutting lessons to be drawn from across the piece. These will be framed by the following key dimensions of men and women workers’ experience:

  • Dignity – respect, freedom from harassment and abuse etc.
  • Agency – capacity to make voice heard, negotiate, influence decision-making
  • Reward – including pay, benefits, working hours, opportunities for advancement, terms and conditions etc.
  • Security – income and job security, contracts, regular work etc.
  • Safety – physical safety & health in the world of work (workplace, commute etc.)
  • Aspiration – what workers and their families aspire to or hope for in the next 5-10 years

In the context of this analysis, consultants would be looking at the extent to which these dimensions have been addressed by the company’s gender initiatives or policies and how effective this has been.

Analyses should also seek to understand how/the extent to which the company/initiative:

  • Has assessed risk for men and women workers in their supply chains at different levels (eg permanent/temporary, labourer/supervisor)?
  • Is using their leverage to improve human resources policies and practices of its suppliers
  • Their gender initiatives link with their own corporate human resources policy and practice
  • Provides access to remedy for men and women workers if rights are abused (and if so, is it tailored to ensure women can access it equally effectively?).
  • Is monitoring the effectiveness of their gender-related work and its impact on men and women workers.

Scope and Expected Outputs

We seek a consultant to work with one or two ETI member companies to understand and analyse the impact of the gender-related work in their global supply chains, and the wider implications for the company itself and for the relevant sector.  ETI trade union and NGO members will also be available to provide advice and support.

This will entail interviews with the relevant company staff at head office level, review of company records on the gender work, telephone interviews with suppliers and interviews with relevant trade unions and NGOs on the impact of the company’s gender in supply chains work.

The consultant should produce the following outputs:

  • A gender analysis plan agreed with the company, outlining the scope of the analysis, what issues will be covered in addition to the six dimensions above, who will be interviewed and what material will be reviewed etc. and the timescale (we estimate up to 6 days’ work with the company). NB travel will not be in the scope of the consultancy. Interviews with overseas interviewees should be conducted by Skype or phone. This should be reviewed with ETI.
  • A 10-15 page report of the findings from the gender analysis, including a 2 page executive summary and case studies, where possible, illustrating good practice.


November 29th – Gender analysis workshop – London

Dec 2016 – Scoping of work and matching of consultant with company/ies

Early Jan 2017 – Presentation of draft gender analysis plan

Mid-Jan – mid-Feb 17 – Final plans agreed and gender analyses conducted

Feb 17th – First draft of individual company gender analysis report

Mar 3rd – Final draft of individual company gender analysis report

End Mar 2017 – Meeting of participating members and consultants to share findings and lessons and agree next steps.

Experience and competencies

  • Extensive knowledge in the fields of gender equity and global value chains
  • Proven research and consultancy experience in these fields
  • Experience of consulting with private corporations
  • Ability to produce high quality, succinct and accessible reports
  • Ability to meet deadlines

Fees and Payment schedule

ETI will agree a payment schedule based on the agreed delivery milestones. We anticipate that this consultancy will involve approximately 10 days’ work per company analysed.

Expressions of interest

Expressions of interest should be received by November 25th, should be no more than 6 pages long and should include:

  • A covering letter explaining why you think you would be suitable for this consultancy and why you are interested in taking it on.
  • Evidence of experience of conducting similar research (gender analysis, global supply/value chains)
  • Two examples of relevant previous work (clearly and accessibly written research reports)
  • One reference able to attest to the quality of your work and your ability to produce quality work within a tight time-frame
  • Your daily fee rate, and whether VAT is included.

Commissioning and lead

Sabita Banerji, Knowledge and Learning Advisor – Sabita.banerji[at]

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