Sweating it out: NGO campaigns and trade union empowerment

In the context of globalisation, transnational social regulation is increasingly the product of NGOs intervening in the sphere of global trade. Drawing on empirical research in SE Asia, the author contends that what matters as much as codes of conduct are spillover effects whose force extends beyond building walls into the broader society of the host country. The basis for effective labour law lies within states, and activism must focus on improving legal, political, and social conditions for workers in the host countries, rather than on trying to affect corporate behaviour through consumer pressure.