Corporate Social Responsibility and Sweatshops: March 23

A one-day conference, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sweatshops, will be held on March 23, to examine the current business practices, codes of conduct, and broader efforts of international corporations, national union organizations and independent watchdog groups in relation to apparel manufacturing. The free conference will be held at Houston Hall in the Hall of Flags.

Hosted by Penn's Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility, the conference is designed to heighten awareness and broaden the discussion relating to apparel manufacturing in foreign factories. Penn's Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility was convened last spring at the request of President Judith Rodin, following the adoption of Penn's Code of Workplace Conduct for Penn Apparel Licensees (Almanac March 28, 2000) and consideration of which monitoring organization(s) would be best suited to monitor factories making university apparel.

Confirmed speakers and moderators for the conference are: President Judith Rodin; Dr. Nikolai Rogovsky, principal officer in the Voluntary Private Initiatives Program, International Labor Organization; Amanda Tucker, senior manager for corporate responsibility, NIKE; Marcela Manubens, vice president of human rights programs, Phillips-Van Heusen; Bruce Raynor, international secretary-treasurer and vice president, Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE); Eileen Kohl Kaufman, executive director, Social Accountability International; Rev. David Schilling, director, Global Corporate Accountability Programs, Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility; Sam Brown, executive director, Fair Labor Association; Thomas Donaldson, Penn professor of legal studies and director, The Wharton Ethics Program; and Thomas Dunfee, Penn professor of legal studies, and vice dean and director of The Wharton School Undergraduate Division.

"The University of Pennsylvania community has spent a considerable amount of time discussing the topic of fair labor and working toward a shared goal of ensuring that items bearing Penn's name are made under safe and humane conditions," said Dr. Gregory Possehl, chair of the Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility. "The conference will provide those in attendance with a closer look at the relationship between business, labor, and factory monitoring on both the national and the international level."

Among its responsibilities, the Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility reviews the Code of Conduct for University of Pennsylvania Apparel Licensees (Almanac May 9, 2000) on an annual basis, reviews the effectiveness of monitoring, reviews the state of compliance of Penn's apparel licensees, and reviews any alleged violations of the University's code of conduct. Following a lengthy consultative process, Penn agreed to join both the Fair Labor Association and the Worker Rights Consortium in December. (See Almanac December 19, 2000).

For more information and to register, visit, or call (215) 898-5605.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 26, March 20, 2001