A new initiative to cut deaths and injuries among garment and footwear workers has been launched by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Vision Zero Fund1 and Nike Inc.
The joint initiative aims to understand why garment and footwear workers are vulnerable to injuries and deaths resulting from commuting accidents and to lessen the adverse impact on workers, their families, and the sector as a whole. The goal is to work together to develop a common, standardized approach to reducing these accidents that can be adapted and replicated in different contexts.
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 1.3 million people are killed and up to 50 million people are injured worldwide on roads every year. Commercial vehicles are involved in approximately 10 to 22 per cent of all road crashes globally.
Garment and footwear sector workers are disproportionately involved in road accidents in many countries. The reasons behind this include commuting long distances, using less safe forms of transport such as motorcycles, walking to work, and sharing roads with heavy commercial vehicles.
The project’s approach includes creating a Theory of Change (TOC) on road safety for garment workers, which has been put together after consultations with workers, employers, governments and ILO specialists in a number of countries.
The Theory Of Change aims to throw light on the underlying causes of road accidents involving garment and footwear workers. The partnership will also develop practical, easy-to-use guidance materials on commuting safety, which will be piloted by the Fund and Nike in a country where contract manufacturing facilities produce Nike products.
Based on the belief that all people have a fundamental right to the protection of life and health in the workplace, Nike aims to provide safe, hygienic, and healthy workplaces along their value chain, including where these are operated by suppliers. This is reflected in Nike’s 2025 Health & Safety Target, which aims to build “world-class safe and healthy workplaces for the people making our product.”
“At Nike, we know a world-class supply chain is grounded in standards that demonstrate respect for the people who make and move our product, and the principles of a healthy and safe workplace,” said Nike’s Director for Health and Safety, Sittichoke Huckuntod. “With this joint initiative on road safety, we look to expand our collaboration with the Vision Zero Fund, which we feel will help Nike manufacturers be leaders in safety across the extended supply chain and beyond.”
“Existing laws and enforcement mechanisms often focus on vehicle drivers, which falls short when it comes to providing sustainable solutions. This is why we are excited about the partnership with Nike,” said the Vision Zero Fund’s Global Programme Manager, Ockert Dupper. “It gives us an opportunity – in collaboration with ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia – to identify the underlying causes beyond vehicle drivers that need to be addressed to reduce injuries and deaths from road accidents, and to collectively develop a more powerful and standardised approach to reduce commuting accidents in the garment supply chain.”
1The ILO’s Vision Zero Fund is based on a model of collective action that mobilizes a wide range of stakeholders, including global business, to develop and implement joint solutions to endemic safety and health challenges in global supply chains. It is active in the agriculture, construction and garment/textiles supply chains, and currently implements projects in eight countries on three continents. The Vision Zero Fund is an integral part of the ILO’s Flagship Programme Safety + Health for All that aims to improve the health and safety of all workers worldwide. It is an initiative of the G7 and has been endorsed by the G20.