Third Party Auditing - III
15/12/2012

This newsletter continues the discussion on third party auditing. Once again we ask if experiences from the safety area are relevant.

We look firstly at additional garment factory fires, where we see the dangers of “generic” accreditations, and the pressure against compliance that can be brought to bear by vested interests. Two New York Times (NYT) articles are cited. The owners of a factory in Pakistan where more than 300 workers burned to death had recently been audited by an independent inspector who was working for a European apparel company that was thinking of using the factory. After he had found locked fire exits hey told him - “We are SA8000-certified. Whether you pass us or fail us, that’s your issue. We don’t care.”  The full NYT article can be accessed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/world/asia/pakistan-factory-fire-shows-flaws-in-monitoring.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all

A second and related NYT article reports that “a Walmart director of ethical sourcing, along with an official from another major apparel retailer, noted that the proposed improvements in electrical and fire safety would involve as many as 4,500 factories and would be “in most cases” a “very extensive and costly modification.”  This second NYT article can be accessed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/asia/3-walmart-suppliers-made-goods-in-bangladeshi-factory-where-112-died-in-fire.html

We provide information on a long running FAA safety programme - Organization Designation Authorization (ODA)[1]. The ODA is responsible for annual internal audits, and has to think about itself "as though we are the FAA”.  The FAA position is, you are our eyes and ears, so we expect you to do everything that we would do. FAA introduced ODA to increase the efficiency of government oversight. Under this system, FAA can provide "oversight without having to do everything personally. Issues, however, remain relating to proprietary data, transferability of authorizations, recourse, objective standards, and whistle blowing. While not directly comparable with third country validations, we believe that there are lessons from this programme that could be of value. An FAA Office of the Inspector General ( OIG)  2011 report on this programme entitled “FAA need to strengthen its risk assessment and oversight approach for Organization Designation Authorization and risk based resource targeting.”  can be accessed at: http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/FAA%20ODA%206-29-11.pdf

The final item in this newsletter continues the dialogue relating to globalization and its actors. In a book entitled “Rethinking World Politics” it author,  Professor Philip Cerny, states that “Rethinking World Politics is an attempt to show that although globalization and its consequences may be messy and disordered at some levels, there is a whole universe of actors out there who potentially van play a role in shaping that order – its just that we are still in the early stages of the process. He asks the pertinent question if all sorts of groups that are developing crucial transnational linkages – both sectional and value groups, and with much in between – forge a better world?”   

Professor Cerny’s comments can be accessed at: http://rorotoko.com/interview/20111017_philip_cerny_on_rethinking_world_politics_theory_transnational_neo/?page=1 The Oxford University Press URL for his book can be accessed at: http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Politics/InternationalStudies/?view=usa&ci=9780199733705