An Exemplary Study Investigating the Emergence and Strengthening of Self-Regulation Regimes in the Apparel Industry
The empirical findings presented above allow interesting insights into the emer- gence and strengthening of self-regulation regimes in the global apparel indus- try. The emergence and proliferation of self-regulation regimes in the late 1990s and the following years can be convincingly explained by the two variables pub- lic pressure and the threat of governmental regulation. The first appears to be more powerful. Consumer pressure organised by NGOs has had a severe impact on the way TNCs conduct their business. They were forced to accept responsi- bility for their production chain and the way they treat workers at home and abroad. TNCs have realised that they are highly vulnerable in that field and without implementing extensive changes, they will lose social legitimacy and customers. Both with respect to timing and content of CSR mechanisms, self- regulation regimes corresponded strongly with the emergence of public pressure campaigns. The first wave of CSR emerged in the United States where the NGO movement fighting for better labour conditions in the apparel industry started. And the first companies to react were those which rely heavily on the value and reputation of their brand. It took several years for smaller or less brand- dependent companies to follow. CSR has become an essential tool in corporate risk-management. Next to in- dividual self-regulation in the form of codes of conduct, collective self- regulation regimes are seen as an important tool in minimising the risk of being targeted by NGO campaigns. Collective self-regulation regimes increase the credibility of corporate...
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