Data and Evidence

Informing policymakers through robust, reliable and timely insights

Better Work’s unique quality data about compliance, working conditions and enterprise performance in the garment sector, when widely shared and accessible to constituents and industry actors, is considered trustworthy, neutral, and highly valuable to inform sustainable change.

It can empower national constituents to develop evidence-based policy informed by robust data, insights and knowledge of the apparel industry in their countries. Existing efforts are being scaled up by expanding data collection methods and tools and aggregating robust data and evidence from different academic and sectorial sources, including from constituents and industry partners. This will allow a deeper analysis of the data we gather. We will also strengthen communication on our findings, as well as build capacity of national constituents to access and utilize our data and evidence.
As the programme evolves its factory engagement model during the current strategic phase, the types of data collected, and the systems required to use it effectively, are also transforming. Better Work will continuously engage with global and national constituents to determine their data and evidence needs, informing operational adjustments for data collection and data sharing to support the advancement of their mandates.
Better Work and the broader International Labour Organization (ILO) will continue their close collaboration on data and evidence. This means reinforcing the complementarity of data collection and facilitating data aggregation to inform policy advocacy on topics like wages, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and gender equality.

Better Work’s Impact

Better Work has developed a strong capacity to collect and analyze data, building on an extensive academic network and developing expertise on a range of labour and compliance issues across the garment industry.

In each country, Better Work has provided accessible data through its transparency and data sharing portals, robust analysis and experience from factory engagement to illustrate how national policies affect factory-level practices, and how policy experiments at the enterprise level can be scaled at the industry and national levels. In Viet Nam, for example, the programme has influenced national policy and regulations, including through its inputs to the national labour law revision. This has been possible thanks to the availability and trust in enterprise-level data collected. Transparently reporting on non-compliance issues at the factory level has been identified as a key driver for improvements in working conditions.

During its last phase, 2017-2022, Better Work’s data and evidence informed: 

  • Policies enacted at the regional and global level that reflect Better Work’s evidence on decent work and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in supply chains
  • 73 Research publications
  • 42 Events showcasing Better Work’s evidence and experience

The Better Work Transparency Portal, where we disclose the names of the factories registered with several of our programmes and their compliance with key national and international labour standards, has the potential to be an essential tool for policymakers, regulators, businesses and employer and worker organisations, who strive to promote decent work across an ever-changing industry.

Better Work Action Plan

By 2027, Better Work will have continued to collect, analyze and share robust data and evidence on labour conditions and compliance as well as all strategy priority themes. The Programme will engage with national constituents to improve their access to and capacity to use Better Work’s own and other sources of reliable data to inform evidence-based policy making to protect workers’ rights in the garment industry and support enterprises to be resilient and to adapt to future industry transformations, including through predictive technologies.

Better Work’s Data and Evidence Action Plan is responsive and designed to evolve over the lifetime of our strategy, Sustaining Impact, 2022/27. In consultation with global and national partners, we will continue to refine our action plans to ensure they support long-term, progressive change.

1Collecting and analyzing enterprise and worker data and evidence in a robust and reliable way.

By taking advantage of the rapid shift towards digitalization, Better Work will collect and analyze more granular data to inform all strategic priority themes. Better Work will also strengthen its role as a steward of data quality and integrity and its potential to act as an authority in the interpretation of labour data from the garment industry, as generated by the programme’s own operations, by the ILO’s access to micro-level datasets at the national level, by national constituents and by other industry actors.  

2Leveraging data and evidence for policy advocacy and internal learning.

At the global level, in collaboration with an extensive academic network, Better Work analyzes and aggregates data and evidence from across countries to draw cross-cutting policy lessons that inform the international community on issues related to labour regulation, gender equality, social dialogue and different aspects of working conditions and labour rights. Our data and evidence have also been essential for internal quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation and operational learning. This knowledge evidence brokering function relies on robust data sharing and effective exchanges of data and evidence between Better Work, ILO, IFC (as part of World Bank Group), national constituents, and industry partners.

3Building capacity of national constituents to access and utilize robust and reliable data and evidence.

Better Work is set to further engage with national constituents to determine what data and evidence they need, and how to best utilize what is already available. The programme will improve constituents’ access to and capacity to use Better Work’s own and other sources of reliable data on our strategy’s thematic priorities. For example, we will continue to support the capacity development of labour inspectors, including by facilitating their access to compliance data and by strengthening their analytical skills to manipulate it, and we will work with worker organizations at the global and national levels, in order to facilitate their access to data to support evidence-based social dialogue and bargaining.

We will support data collection on the thematic areas of our strategy across all our country programmes. 

Better Work’s current Strategic Phase: Sustaining our impact in 2022-27 and beyond

Strategic Priorities

Better Work five-year strategy (2022-27) embraces innovation around a set of strategic priorities to adapt to the needs of the garment and footwear industry around the world.


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