Fortune 500 Companies Join Together to Support Better Work

A program to improve labor standards and competitiveness in factories overseas

L-R: Rajan Kamalanathan (Walmart), Ayesha Barenblat (Business for Social Responsibility), Adam Greene (USCIB), Amanda Tucker (Nike), Laura Rubbo (The Walt Disney Company), Michael Kobori (Levi Strauss & Co.), Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, Dan Henkle (GAP Inc.), Ros Harvey (Better Work program).
L-R: Rajan Kamalanathan (Walmart), Ayesha Barenblat (Business for Social Responsibility), Adam Greene (USCIB), Amanda Tucker (Nike), Laura Chapman Rubbo (The Walt Disney Company), Michael Kobori (Levi Strauss & Co.), Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, Dan Henkle (GAP Inc.), Ros Harvey (Better Work program).

Washington, D.C., November 19, 2009 – Five of the biggest U.S. companies are backing an international program to improve compliance with labor standards and competitiveness in the factories where some of their products are made.

The five companies – Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Walmart and The Walt Disney Company – will collectively contribute more than $1 million to Better Work, a unique joint program of the International Labor Organization and the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector lending arm of the World Bank.  These contributions will support the development of assessment and training tools that will have direct impacts in supplier factories.

Better Work brings together governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and global companies to address working conditions in supplier factories.  The program assesses compliance with international labor standards and national labor laws, posts reports online and provides targeted remedial training to improve compliance with labor standards as well as the competitiveness of the factory.

The program has been very successful in applying an evidence-based approach to monitoring and improving working conditions in developing countries.  The successful Better Factories Cambodia project has resulted in high levels of compliance and improvements that have been sustained despite reduced exports.

Jane Stewart, director of the International Labor Organization’s New York office.

Better Work has expanded services to several other developing countries, where it has already benefited 1.2 million workers and their families by improving working conditions and compliance with labor standards and wage and hour laws.  More country programs are planned over the next five years, expanding the scope of Better Work’s collaborative approach to even more factories.

“Better Work is a perfect example of a public-private collaboration with measurable benefits,” stated Peter M. Robinson, president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), in announcing the decision today.  “By bringing all stakeholders together in a collaborative approach, Better Work is helping to create sustainable change.

“But more support is needed if the program is to have maximum effect.” Mr. Robinson said. “We call on other companies to join with us in financially supporting this great initiative.”

USCIB represents American business interests internationally, including in the ILO where it is the U.S. employer constituent, serves on the ILO Governing Body, and leads the U.S. employer delegation to the ILO’s annual International Labor Conference.  Most of the company contributions to Better Work will be administered by the United States Council Foundation.

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation.  Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world.  With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment.  More information is available at


Adam Greene, USCIB, +1 (212) 703-5056,

Louise Callagy, Gap Inc.,

Kelley Benander, Levi Strauss & Co., +1 (415) 501-7598,

Kate Meyers, Nike, +1 (503) 724 9086,

Jami Lamontagne, Walmart, +1 (479) 273-4314,

Jonathan Friedland, The Walt Disney Company, +1 (818) 560-8306

Staff Contact:   Ewa Staworzynska

Director, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
Tel: 212.703.5056

Ewa Staworzynska is USCIB’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs. Staworzynska brings to USCIB her extensive policy experience from both public and private sectors. Prior to joining USCIB, she led DoorDash’s policy efforts in international markets and was in charge of diplomatic relations. Before her position at DoorDash, Staworzynska was an officer at the International Labor Organization (ILO), where she worked multilaterally to advance support for decent work and related policies at UN headquarters. Staworzynska began her career in New York working for a real estate start-up. Staworzynska will be based in USCIB’s New York office and will work with Jose Arroyo, USCIB policy associate on corporate responsibility and labor affairs, on a wide range of issues, including human rights and industrial policy, responsible business conduct, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She was born and raised in Norway and has a B.A. in Economics and M.A. in International Relations, with a specialty in International Business, from New York University.
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