Better Factories

Cambodia

Better Work operates in Cambodia as Better Factories Cambodia (BFC). BFC started in 2001 as the foundational programme of Better Work and has been instrumental in improving working conditions in the garment sector while increasing the competitiveness of Cambodia as a smart sourcing destination.

Brands and Retailers

45

Factories

703

Workers

651,000

The initial establishment and growth of Better Factories Cambodia coincided with a 17% reduction in the gender pay gap in the national garment sector

Participation in Better Factories Cambodia leads to a productivity increase between 26 and 31 percent for the average factory

Better Factories Cambodia focuses on promoting wage compliance and aligning pay incentives between workers and supervisors as key tools for reducing sexual harassment

As factories participate in BFC, workers report less need for overtime to meet basic necessities, and less concern with work hours and their pay rate

Better Factories Cambodia

Better Work operates in Cambodia as Better Factories Cambodia (BFC).

BFC started in 2001 as the foundational programme of Better Work, which is a joint programme between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. BFC has been instrumental in improving working conditions in the garment sector while increasing the competitiveness of Cambodia as a smart sourcing destination.

With over 660 participating factories, employing more than 645,000 workers of which approximately 80% are women, BFC is committed to gender equity and empowerment in the workplace and aims to improve the lives of workers, their families and communities as well as the competitiveness of Cambodian garment, travel goods and bag sector and footwear factories in the global market.

MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
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Our Strategic Goals

Better Factories Cambodia’s 2023-2027 strategic phase will work to achieve the following outcomes:

By 2027, employers and workers and their representatives uphold and are protected by national labour laws and fundamental principles and rights at work; and enterprises in the sector are more sustainable, resilient and inclusive.

By 2027, Better Factories Cambodia’s impact on workers, enterprises and compliance is sustained by national institutions that leverage the Programme’s approaches, data and evidence.

By 2027, Better Factories Cambodia, in partnerships with relevant industry actors, will ensure enterprises that participate in the programme have adopted policies and practices on responsible business conduct that support the realization of decent work and sustainable compliance.

By 2027, the programme’s learnings and methods have created positive social and environmental impacts beyond the programme.

Latest news

Featured 12 Dec 2023

Empowering trade union leaders: Yang Sophorn’s journey

Ms. Yang Sophorn, a dedicated trade union leader, shares her transformative journey from a factory worker to a prominent union leader in Cambodia, highlighting the impact of the Trade Union Leadership Training programme on her personal and professional growth, emphasizing the importance of emotional intelligence, family support, and the pursuit of positive change for workers.

Contribution to Priority Themes

These themes crosscut the strategic goals and will be present in our factory engagement, research, policy influencing and content produced as well as affect how we allocate our human and financial resources.

Data and Evidence

Data and Evidence

The programme will work with universities and research institutes to collect and analyze data, consulting with constituents, including union groups, on how data is collected and used and how constituents’ data needs can be met. The programme will use data to make the case for skills development in the sector and publish research on the state of the industry related to gender, the digital wages transition and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).

wages

Wages

In collaboration with the ILO Global Center on Digital Wages for Decent Work, BFC will coordinate with all relevant supply chain actors to ensure the responsible transition to digital wage payments. The programme will support digital literacy initiatives for workers and empower them to access digital financial services. BFC will support relevant constituents’ dialogue and the Royal Government of Cambodia’s efforts to expand minimum wage coverage in sectors beyond the garment industry.

Social Dialogue

Social Dialogue

As part of the Industrial Relations (IR) leadership programme, BFC provides training to trade unions on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) process. The programme advises trade unions in over 200 factories. BFC will develop and disseminate an IR toolkit to factories as part of training and advisory meetings. The trade union contact group will meet on a regular basis to receive training to increase their capacity on leadership skills, gender-based violence and harassment prevention, OSH observation skills and social dialogue. 

Gender Equality and Inclusion

Gender Equality & Inclusion

The topic of gender equality cuts across all the work that we do at Better Factories Cambodia (BFC). To provide strategic direction in its work, BFC focuses its gender priorities under four pillars: Discrimination, Paid work and Care, Voice and Representation and Leadership and Skills Development. BFC is committed to improving working conditions to benefit both female and male workers, through improving business benefits while also bridging the gender equality gap within the Cambodian garment sector. 

Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)

Alongside the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, BFC will co-train officials and staff at the provincial level on techniques to detect OSH non-compliance in factories. Together with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), the programme will build the sector’s capacity in line with the ILO’s Code of Practice on Occupational Safety and Health. BFC will advise and provide technical assistance to constituents as they develop the Safety Act. BFC will expand its work on workplace wellbeing, mental health and social inclusion of garment workers via an online worker committee that was created in response to COVID-19 isolation.

Social Protection

Social Protection

Collaborating with the ILO’s social protection specialists in Cambodia, BFC will focus on key aspects of a garment worker’s life and livelihood, especially the tenure of workers, with particular attention given to understanding women workers’ work and care responsibilities. Enterprise Advisors will be trained on social protection concepts to embed knowledge about social protection in factories via bipartite committee meetings.

Productivity and Business Performance

Productivity

BFC will support employers to develop services for their members focused on enterprise productivity and develop a policy agenda to engage the Government on industry needs with respect to productivity gains. The programme will implement training for workers’ organizations to strengthen their role in achieving productivity gains. BFC will also partner with development agencies to assist with matching supplier requests with productivity process agencies, such as AOTS and Kaizen, to pilot new ways of streamlining the production processes.

Environmental

Environmental Sustainability

BFC will engage with partners working on environmental sustainability in the Cambodian garment sector to determine what factors need to change at a system, enterprise and national levels to reduce sectoral emissions overall. Research related to heat stress in factories will be used to advocate for the adoption of a building code regulatory mechanism. BFC will also undertake climate change impact training for workers to understand the changes and how environmental sustainability affects them. 

Key Partners and Donors

Governments

Government

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoVLT)
employers

Employers

Textile, Apparel, Footwear & Travel goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC)
Workers

Workers

Trade Union contact group
Brands and retailers

Brands and retailers

45 Brand and retail partners

Development partners

from the people of Japan (1)

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