Since 2001, Better Factories Cambodia has joined with workers, employers and government to improve working conditions and boost the competitiveness of the garment industry.
Originally, the project was linked to an innovative trade agreement with the United States that provided market access in return for improving working conditions in the garment sector. After the expiration of the trade agreement in 2004, the Cambodian Government, together with unions and employers, requested that the ILO set up a sustainability strategy to turn Better Factories Cambodia into a self-financing local institution. The ILO teamed up with the IFC to design and implement this strategy.
The first programme of its kind, BFC pioneered a unique approach to drive change that has inspired the establishment of the Better Work programme in seven other countries. With a current coverage of over 550 factories and 550,000 workers, BFC has helped to spur improvements in factory working conditions and workplace environment across the industry.
In Cambodia, the garment industry is a key provider of jobs that help to improve livelihoods of workers and their families. In 2015, it employed more than 650,000 workers and accounted for USD 6.28 billion, or roughly 80%, of Cambodia’s total export revenue. The total exports of the garment and footwear sector reached USD 6.3 billion in 2015, representing 7.6% growth over 2014.