Social auditing is growing within the corporate social responsibility movement. On the one hand, the social audit is a means of attesting corporate compliance with Voluntary Labour Standards. On the other hand, it could become a means of legitimising questionable labour management practices in supply-chain relationships. Social audits are conducted in a wide range of industries, but the largest number of audits is imposed on apparel and shoe manufacturers-suppliers. The number and frequency of audits does not necessarily ensure humane working conditions, or worker empowerment. Here the impact of the garment industry's Voluntary Labour Standards on the workforce in developing countries is critically evaluated. We then propose a worker-oriented participatory framework that reshapes labour standards by eliciting and integrating labour's voice into existing voluntary standards. Hence this discussion uses social audit as a vehicle to demonstrate the implications of Schumacher's concept of the right livelihood on management control systems.
Advances in Public Interest Accounting Vol. 14, p. 297-319