The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) has released an improved version of the Code/Guidelines for employment in textile industry, by including the employment of migrant and contract workers, in addition to the women workers. Companies adopting the SIMA code must consider the social impact of its operations in addition to working conditions.

“The Code will be in Compliance with law, rules and regulations in force, to maintain a moral and ethical standards to be adopted by an employer for running a successful business by way of correct implementation, monitoring and enforcement and by developing a standard of conduct that is acceptable by all stakeholders,” Kumarasamy Chandrasekaran, Director and Head of Sustainability, BSI Group (India) Pvt Ltd, told the audience during the launch ceremony in Coimbatore recently.

“While ethical conduct and respecting human rights are the pillars of this Code, it also addresses issues including forced and child labour, occupational health and safety, freedom of association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, and management systems along with the major compliances to be adhered to in the normal course of business, in promoting good governance,” Chandrasekaran added.

The new Code of Conduct can be applied to any company, of any size. Organisations can also get certified against this Code with a BSI audit, which will help the companies develop and improve their social responsibility across operations.

British Standards has signed a MoU with SIMA to act only as an independent and objective audit partner for a period of five years. Organisations, adopting the Code could seek a ’baseline’ review from British Standards to know where they stand currently on the various parameters. Subsequently, they can chalk out an action plan for implementation and improvement. “Further audits should enable them to achieve the ‘five star’ rating that should give their customers and the stakeholder fraternity confidence that the organisation is indeed socially responsible,” said Chandrasekaran. The certificate awarded by BSI would be valid for 2 years and entails a surveillance audit after completion of the first year.