A Roadmap for Responsible Business Conduct

A smiling woman in a dress and straw hat picks peppers.
A farmworker in Sri Lanka. Photo credit: artiemedvedev 

Three years ago, a Dalit woman was murdered by her supervisor at a garment factory in India. Her co-workers did not wait for the company to respond. They organized collectively and engaged major global fashion companies, developing an enforceable agreement between the buying companies, the factories and their trade union to identify, remedy and prevent gender-based violence and harassment in their workplaces.

Known as the Dindigul agreement, the initiative established independent monitoring entities and trained female shop floor monitors with special retaliation protections to take immediate action on cases of gender-based violence and harassment. The agreement ensured that there were trusted and reliable grievance mechanisms in place. It also held companies accountable to resolving issues and providing workers access to remedy.

By 2026, companies are projected to spend over $27 billion a year on voluntary social audits to report on labor abuses in their supply chains. Yet, no audit would have stopped the tragedy in India. And in 2013, the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing over 1,100 workers – days after an audit found no problems in the building. Voluntary third-party audits have all too often shown their limitations.

Screenshot of the "Responsible Business Conduct and Labor Rights InfoHub" webpage. The main image is of workers wearing blue uniforms using sewing machines in a garment factory.
The landing page for the Responsible Business Conduct and Labor Rights InfoHub.

We believe businesses can and must do better. That’s why we’ve released the Responsible Business Conduct and Labor Rights InfoHub, a one-stop shop for information, guidance and tools from the U.S. government and international organizations to support the private sector in integrating labor rights and responsible business practices in their operations and across their global supply chains.

This comes as part of the U.S. government’s second National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct, founded on the Biden-Harris administration’s bedrock belief that businesses can have success while doing good, and that governments should create the conditions for responsible business conduct to take place.

The InfoHub provides companies with the knowledge and tools they need to comply with federal statutes, agency rules and trade provisions around responsible business and labor rights. It also makes government reports and advisories easily accessible, so businesses can stay up to date on emerging risks in priority sectors.

The site complements existing due diligence tools the Bureau of International Labor Affairs has created, such as Comply Chain and our List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. The InfoHub also builds upon ILAB’s commitment to amplifying worker voice as a critical component of worker-centered due diligence.

Through our new Responsible Business Conduct and Labor Rights InfoHub, we're providing companies with the tools for meaningful due diligence in their supply chains.
A garment worker at a Better Work factory in Vietnam. Better Work is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to improve working conditions in global textile and apparel supply chains. Credit: Better Work.

We urge all stakeholders — from civil society to the C-suite — to use these resources, tools and legal standards to engage in meaningful action, strengthen their due diligence and ensure workers in their supply chains can exercise their internationally recognized rights without fear of retaliation.

We are entering a new era of corporate compliance, one where binding commitments to support worker voice, as we see in the Dindigul agreement, emerge as powerful and viable tools. The businesses at the top of global supply chains have the power to make these agreements widespread and effective and to ensure that workers are at the center of these new processes and institutions. This requires not just standing up new processes to map and track impacts within supply chains, but on concrete, positive outcomes for workers. It requires not just setting up hotlines, apps or suggestion boxes for workers but respecting their rights to organize and bargain collectively.

Through the Responsible Business Conduct and Labor Rights InfoHub and other resources, the U.S. Department of Labor is providing companies with the tools to chart a path forward on meaningful due diligence and bolster the rights and protections of all workers.


Thea Lee is the deputy undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. Follow ILAB on X/Twitter at @ILAB_DOL and on LinkedIn.