About the GSCP PDF E-mail


Working conditions and environmental requirements in the global supply chain are becoming an increasingly sensitive topic. Buying companies are responding to this by developing codes of conduct, individually or collaboratively, as well as voluntary monitoring systems. Based on careful, methodical approaches, these codes, and the mechanisms to implement them, have brought about real benefits to workers in most sensitive countries. However, the number of codes has proliferated and approaches have somewhat diverged. The proliferation of codes, audit duplication and divergence of approach have led to duplication of efforts. Moreover, this has sent a confused message to suppliers, and to public authorities, as to what is expected of fundamental labour rights and environmental practices.

To address the need for consistency, and to allow for more focus on the resolution of the root causes of non-compliances, leading global buying companies created The Global Social Compliance Programme.

The proposal

Launched end of 2006, the Global Social Compliance Programme is a business-driven programme for the continuous improvement of working and environmental conditions in global supply chains. The GSCP was created by and for global buying companies wanting to work collaboratively on improving the sustainability (social and environmental) of their often-shared supply base. To this end, these companies are working on harmonizing existing efforts to deliver a shared, global and sustainable approach based on consensus and best practice.

The GSCP provides a global cross-industry platform to promote the exchange of knowledge and best practices in order to build comparability and transparency between existing social compliance and environmental compliance systems. To this effect, the Global Social Compliance Programme is developing a set of reference tools and processes that describe best existing practices and provide a common interpretation of working and environmental requirements and their implementation at supplier level. This approach will enable mutual recognition between existing systems using the GSCP reference tools as a benchmark through an Equivalence Process, and allow for simpler buying.

The GSCP is ultimately working towards remediation of root causes to non-compliances, aiming at supplier ownership of solutions and their implementation. The Programme will support remediation through a collaborative approach to capacity building at supplier site, and the launch of working groups to tackle onground topics requiring cross-industry guidelines.

To this day, 39 companies have joined and continue to support the Global Social Compliance Programme.

The GSCP also involves civil society stakeholders (notably through its Advisory Board) to guarantee the Programme's integrity and inclusiveness, while relying on the widest range of knowledge and expertise.


The GSCP is a global cross-industry platform that includes:

  • all buying companies
  • all consumer good products
  • all geographies

The Global Social Compliance Programme however is not:

  • another monitoring system
  • a substitute to existing initiatives
  • an accreditation or a certification body

Operating principles

  • Non-competitive: the Programme shall not be used for marketing or competitive advantage
  • Upgrade of existing systems: stop duplication and seek harmonisation by identifying and integrating best practices from existing code and implementation systems (individual or collaborative). At the same time allow mutual learning and upgrade of existing systems
  • No lowering of existing standards: in promoting the harmonisation of existing systems, only best practices will be retained and international standards will be upheld when available
  • Open source: any reference tools created in the framework of GSCP will be made freely available so that any company or group of companies can integrate them in their existing system if they wish to
  • Transparency: seek independent external expertise, advice and constructive support from civil society stakeholders (NGOs, Trade Unions, International Organisations, SRIs, Academia, etc.) in the pursuit of the Programme’s objectives.
  • Involvement at top level: to ensure that the GSCP vision is understood and shared, and that it gains full support from senior management, the commitment is made at CEO level in each company.

How does the GSCP support existing systems?

The GSCP supports existing systems by helping users identify and share best practices. The programme is not another monitoring initiative, nor a substitute to existing systems. The programme provides the platform where differences between existing systems (individual or collaborative) can be aired, discussed and reconciled in order to move towards convergence, while preserving each system’s specificity.

The GSCP model is based on buying companies’ engagement and direct participation. This creates an automatic link with existing systems and/or initiatives. Companies participating in the GSCP continue to actively work with their own system and/or initiative, while at the same time helping to foster the dialogue, comparability, transparency and trust needed to drive real change.