Today the G7 employment and development ministers agreed on a number of very specific measures to promote decent work worldwide and to sustainably improve the living conditions of millions of people. At the invitation of Andrea Nahles, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, and Dr Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, the G7 ministers met for a two-day conference to launch the initiative "Action for Fair Production".
The G7 initiative is a direct response to the poor working conditions that are still commonplace across the globe: each year 2.3 million people die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases. The economic damage from this amounts to four percent of the global gross domestic product. That comes to over a billion euros per year.
Federal Minister Andrea Nahles:
The G7's aim of promoting decent work throughout the world is something we are now tackling with great vigour. It is high time to take global action. Our nations represent half of the world's value creation. So we can achieve a lot by working together. At our meeting of G7 ministers of employment and development we have therefore agreed to launch very specific projects such as a global prevention fund - the "Vision Zero Fund", which will bring fundamental improvements to working conditions in producer countries. This includes better labour inspections, occupational safety training, better fire protection and support with the introduction of accident insurance.
Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller:
Today's message is: The G7 are taking action. We will support producer countries in bringing about decent working conditions, whether for textile workers in Bangladesh or for miners in the Congo. We will make sure that our consumers know whether or not their clothes or mobile phones come from sustainable production. We will introduce alliances based on the model of our Textiles Partnership in all G7 countries. Working together with industry and civil society, we will ensure that the people who make our products can lead dignified lives.
With the declaration adopted today, the G7 employment and development ministers are delivering on the decisions made in Elmau by the G7 heads of state and government to promote sustainable global supply chains. About two weeks after the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New York, the ministers have taken the first concrete steps towards its implementation with the declaration "Action for Fair Production":
- Supporting companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, in the monitoring of their supply chains with respect to the application of internationally recognised labour, social and environmental standards.
- Following the example of the Textiles Partnership by promoting alliances of industry, civil society and trade unions for the implementation of agreed labour, social and environmental standards in all G7 countries.
- Implementing the global prevention fund "Vision Zero Fund" at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the aim of improving working conditions in poorer producer countries (for example through training measures and support for the establishment of accident insurance).
- Supporting producer countries in the enforcement of environmental and social standards and advising them on taking better advantage of global value chains.
- Providing more transparency to consumers in order to promote sustainable consumption.
- Improving complaint mechanisms and arbitration procedures for workers in producer countries by optimising the work of the OECD's National Contact Points in the G7 countries.