Auret van Heerden

Auret van Heerden has over 40 years experience in labour and human rights issues worldwide. He began as a student leader and anti-apartheid activist in South Africa before being forced into exile after long periods of detention and torture.

He was recruited by the ILO in Geneva to work on the Programme of Action against Apartheid until the Mandela administration was elected in 1994 and named him as Labour Attache at the South African Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva. He returned to the ILO in 1996 to head the Special Action Programme on Social and Labour Issues in EPZs.

In 2001 he joined the Fair Labor Association in Washington DC and served as its President and CEO for 13 years. His activities span the globe and consist primarily of consultancy and teaching in the areas of labour relations and human resource management, corporate social responsibility and business and human rights.

Auret also founded the Academy for Sustainable Business and works closely with Stern Business School at New York University and the HEC Lausanne. He sits on the Investment Committee of the C&A Foundation, serves on the WEF Global Agenda Council for Business and Human Rights and is a member the Board of the International Council of the Toy Industry’s CARE Program.

Why the Fair Wage Network and its website?

‘The Fair Wage Network is an important development because it allows us to clarify a key but often ignored question about wages  are they fair? Do they equitably reflect the contribution that workers make to the enterprise? In posing that question we hope to avoid ideological and polemical debates, wishing instead to direct attention to how wages are determined, paid, and adjusted, particularly in global supply chains. We believe that, by asking questions about fairness, we are opening up a dialogue that will inevitably lead to improvements in the level and  equity of wages in a way that will enhance the sustainability of the enterprise as a whole.’