From 2000 to 2009, the Brotherhood’s research included work concerning sustainable business and corporate social responsibility. An Ethical Business Project was established in November 2000, as a result of the Brotherhood’s acquisition of Mod-Style, an optical frames wholesaling business. Since most frames were sourced from China, the Brotherhood was keen to investigate the Mod-Style supply chain, understand labour conditions in China and investigate opportunities to contribute to improvements.
The initial focus evolved into a broader research area. Projects included:
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and corporate responsibility
The Brotherhood was represented on the Coordination Committee of OECD-Watch, an international network of non-government organisations promoting corporate accountability and responsibility. OECD Watch assists in implementing the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The Brotherhood partnered with four other organisations to raise the first case in Australia using the OECD complaint mechanism. This case involved Global Solutions Limited Australia (GSL), the company responsible for managing Australia’s immigration detention centres.
Serena Lillywhite 2008, Seasonal labour mobility: responsible business conduct, decent work and regional engagement, paper prepared for the OECD Roundtable on Corporate Responsibility, 2008 (PDF file, 500 KB)
Brotherhood of St Laurence and OECD Watch 2007, The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the finance sector, paper prepared for the OECD Roundtable on Corporate Responsibility, 2007 (PDF file, 77 KB)
Joris Oldenziel, Joseph Wilde and Colleen Freeman (eds) 2006, Promotion of the Guidelines and the role of national contact points in handling specific instances, OECD Watch Briefing paper (PDF file, 126 KB)
Colleen Freeman, Cornelia Heydenreich and Serena Lillywhite 2006, Guide to OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises' Complaint Procedure: lessons from past NGO complaints (PDF file, 1.7 MB). For periodic updates of this guide, check the OECD Watch website at http://www.oecdwatch.org/.
Serena Lillywhite 2004, The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and supply chain responsibility: a discussion paper (PDF file, 55KB)
Documents relating to the case involving GSL
Submission to the Australian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises concerning Global Solutions Limited (Australia) Pty Ltd June 2005 (PDF file, 122 KB)
Supplementary evidence to the complaint submission (PDF file, 83 KB)
NGO opening statement at mediation (PDF file, 38 KB)
Letter to the parties from the Australian National Contact Point (PDF file, 39 KB)
Australian National Contact Point final statement and record of agreed outcomes (PDF file, 101 KB)
Detention centres meet NGO demands, media release 20 April 2006
Corporate responsibility in the Australian garment sector
Emer Diviney and Serena Lillywhite 2007, Ethical threads: corporate social responsibility in the Australian garment industry (PDF file, 862 KB)
Emer Diviney and Serena Lillywhite 2009, Travelling textiles: a sustainability roadmap for natural fibre garments (PDF file, 2MB). Report for St James Ethics Centre examining the social and environmental impacts of production in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the garment industry, as part of an Australian Government funded project to promote responsible and sustainable business practices.
Access to eyecare for low-income Victorians
This research was followed by the state government’s announcement in 2005 of increased funding for the Victorian Eyecare Service which provides subsidised spectacles for people with Pensioner Concession Cards or Health Care Cards.
Emer Diviney and Serena Lillywhite 2004, Seeing clearly: access to affordable eyecare for low-income Victorians Changing Pressures No. 13 (PDF file, 238 KB)
Submission to the DHS Victorian Ophthalmology Service Planning Framework April 2004(PDF file, 95 KB)
BSL submission to the Department of Ageing responding to the National Eye Health Plan August 2005 (PDF file, 42 KB)
Understanding the optical frame supply chain and labour conditions in China
Serena Lillywhite 2002, Pursuing corporate responsibility in China: Experience of a small enterprise in the optical industry (PDF file, 52 KB)
Serena Lillywhite 2003, Institutional challenges for the global China: Sustainable foreign direct investment and labour rights amongst supply chains in China (PDF file, 80 KB)
Serena Lillywhite 2004, Responsible supply chain management: ethical purchasing in practice November 2004 (PDF file, 78 KB)
Serena Lillywhite 2005, Ethical purchasing and workers' rights in China: Considerations for a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement February 2005 (PDF file, 108 KB)
Serena Lillywhite 2005, China: responsible supply chain management and ethical purchasing, paper presented to CPA China conference, June 2005 (PDF file, 59 KB)
Serena Lillywhite 2005, Ethical purchasing and workers’ rights in China: snapshot of an Australian NGO doing business in China, paper presented to Business for Social Responsibility Annual Conference,Washington DC, November 2005 (PDF file, 65 KB)
Brotherhood staff contributed to a campaigning manual for homeworkers, published by Homeworkers Worldwide with the support of the Trades Union Congress in the United Kingdom and the Brotherhood.
Annie Delaney 2004, Campaigns at work: a guide to campaigning for homeworker organisations, unions, campaign groups and activists (PDF file, 1.1 MB)
Assessing Australia's top 100 companies for the Good Reputation Index 2002
The Brotherhood ‘s contribution to this composite index addressed ethical practice and governance.
Sonya Holm and Serena Lillywhite 2002, Doing business responsibly: perceptions of ethical practice and governance of Australasia's top 100 companies (PDF file, 353 KB)
Codes of conduct and ethical behaviour
This research examined the use of codes of conduct and ethical behaviour as a means to improve corporate social responsibility. It led to a consultative process to develop the Brotherhood’s code of ethical behavior.
Report and Code
Sonya Holm and Serena Lillywhite 2003, Turning values into action: developing a Code of Ethical Behaviour (PDF file, 135 KB)
Brotherhood of St Laurence Code of Ethical Behaviour (PDF file, 47 KB)