Photo: Cargo ships entering one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore. Credit @ donvictorio

Companies are increasingly looking to traceability solutions to address the risk of labor abuse in their supply chains and to comply with both rising consumer expectations and increasing regulatory requirements. Having traceable supply chains does not automatically deliver better or more fair working conditions, but having supply chain visibility is critical for many aspects of robust labor and human rights due diligence, and traceability systems can provide important infrastructure to facilitate due diligence implementation.

The U.S. Department of Labor-funded Supply Chain Tracing and Engagement Methodologies (STREAMS) Project is working to support companies, governments, and civil society to leverage traceability efforts to improve conditions for workers and their communities.

In 2022, the STREAMS Project has focused on developing a major new, public resource – the Supply Chain Traceability Matrix – which is slated for launch in early 2023. The STREAMS Matrix is an accessible, interactive platform that helps users learn how to optimize traceability approaches to combat labor abuses in global supply chains. Verité has created the Matrix to help companies design supply chain traceability systems that give them the insights and structures they need to implement comprehensive due diligence frameworks, such as those set out in the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Comply Chain, and the U.S. Department of State’s Responsible Sourcing Tool.

The STREAMS Supply Chain Traceability Matrix comprises three major content areas:

  • A primer: providing a new approach to understanding the intersection between supply chain traceability and due diligence.
  • The Tracing Methods Typology (TMT): explains different traceability methods, how those methods can be used to help combat forced labor and child labor in supply chains, the nature of the information provided, and with which types of supply chains they are compatible.
  • The Supply Chains Typology (SCT): provides information on supply chain characteristics that impact traceability feasibility for goods listed on the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.

The STREAMS project has designed the Matrix to meet the needs of multinational companies, government representatives, regulators, and advocates. In the lead-up to the launch, Verité is working with expert advisors to validate the content and design.