Switzerland promotes skills, labour conditions and productivity in SMEs globally

On December 4, 2017, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) officially launched Phase III of the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) programme. This flagship programme promotes more and better jobs in small and medium enterprises in SECO partner countries. For the third phase from 2017 to 2021 SECO supports the SCORE programme with CHF 12 million

Since 2009, the SCORE programme provides practical training and in-factory consulting to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It is active in key supply chains such as manufacturing in Indonesia, Ghana and China, agro-processing in Peru and wood furniture in Vietnam. Demonstrating the business case for decent work, SCORE training enables SMEs to better participate in global supply chains through the simultaneous improvement of workplace conditions and productivity.

Delivering impact

So far, SCORE training was provided to over 1400 enterprises in 15 countries, benefiting more than 300000 employees. Enterprises that participated in one or more modules of SCORE training report improvements in the range of up to 50 % increased productivity, 64 % reduction in defective products, 48 % less waste, 29 % reduction in work related accidents and 22% reduction in absenteeism.

In its third phase the SCORE programme will be geared towards developing innovative partnerships with lead buyers and brand consortiums, to encourage the integration of SCORE methodologies in supplier development strategies.

Better jobs in SMEs are key

SMEs account for two-thirds of all jobs worldwide and make crucial contributions to income generation. Despite this, in developing and emerging economies, SME are often far less productive than larger firms, provide inferior working conditions and struggle to comply with labour and environmental standards.

Within its economic development cooperation, SECO helps enterprises to promote skills development and good working conditions. As enterprises get more productive and access new markets, they create more and better jobs.

The launch of the third phase of SCIRE took place at the event “Sustainable Production and Supply Chains” in Basel. The event was organized by the Foreign Trade Association as well as by the UN Global Compact Network Switzerland. Representatives from enterprises, the Swiss Confederation, academia and social partners discussed measures to improve the sustainability of supply chains.

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