Better Work Phase III

Project completed

Better Work, a partnership of the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, improves working conditions and respect for labour rights in the garment industry, as well as productivity and competitiveness of apparel businesses. It provides services at factory level to improve compliance with national and international labour standards, facilitates better buying practices in the sector and works at the policy level to improve overall working conditions in global supply chains.

Country/region Period Budget
01.07.2017 - 31.10.2021
CHF  12’000’000

The garment industry provides formal employment to over 60 million of workers, predominantly young female and migrants. In order to reach more scale, Better Work will not only offer training to factories but capacitate labour inspectorates and engage in a policy dialogue with government counterparts. By working directly with buyers, Better Work will ensure that responsibility is shared in the supply chain by addressing law enforcement and sourcing practices.


A competitive and inclusive global garment industry that lifts millions out of poverty by providing decent work and empowering women

Medium-term outcomes

At factory level, Better Work will have provided in-factory services to accelerate improvements in working conditions and business competitiveness

At sectoral level, Better Work will have influenced global retailers, brands and manufacturers in the establishment of business practices that promote decent work outcomes in supply chains

At national level, ILO, IFC and WBG will have strengthened institutions and influenced policies that create an enabling environment for decent work and improved business competitiveness

At global level, Better Work will have influenced the regional and global policy dialogue on decent work and the SDGs with its unique evidence base and proven examples of success


Expected results:  

Better Work services have been expanded and adapted to different factory needs

Gender equality has been further strenghtened

Buyers have integrated Better Work methodologies in their supply chains

Duplication in assessment and auditing has been reduced/eliminated

Capacity of labour inspectorates has been strengthened

Capacity of social partners has been strengthened

ILO and WBG policy advice to countries in the garment sector have been aligned and coherent

National action plans on how to position the garment industry have been developed

Dissemination of research results and proven examples of success has been achieved

Results from previous phases:  

The Better Work (BW) programme unequivocally improved working conditions and has increased compliance with ILO labour standards and national legislation.

– BW has increased worker take-home pay, e.g. in Vietnam weekly pay has increased by USD 15-

– BW has contributed to the reduction in the incidence of abusive and coercive working conditions (including withholding of passports, verbal abuse, sexual harassment) by 18%-

– Excessive work hours decreased, e.g. in Vietnam, factories operating with excessive overtime fell from 90 % to 50 % and weekly working hours were reduced by 2.5 hours-

– BW empowers women by decreasing the gender pay gap by 17%, reducing sexual harassment concerns by as much as 18%, and increasing women’s access to prenatal care by 26%-

– Improved firm performance with 25% increase in profitability-

– Ensuring women have the skills and confidence to success yields real business benefits: training female supervisors leads to 22% higher productivity.

Directorate/federal office responsible SECO
Credit area Development cooperation
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    12’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    0 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    74’900’000
Project phases Phase 4 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase)

Phase 3 01.07.2017 - 31.10.2021   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)