Solving supply chain Code of Conduct violations will take multi-faceted interventions. I was privileged to facilitate a panel on “Slavery in the Supply Chain” at the annual Trust Women Conference organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation that presented some solutions, and challenges, to an audience of smart and committed people from business, government, media, advocacy and law. Conferences like this demonstrate that there are in many cases existing, effective solutions to pressing problems like forced labor in supply chains. In private conversations, I’ve been emphasizing lately the opportunity and urgency for companies to adopt these existing solutions now rather than await the invention of something new. Much benefit—to vulnerable workers, their employers, brands and other supply chain ‘owners’—can be achieved almost immediately if companies were to take steps like HP has (outlined in this newsletter elsewhere), and as we’ve described Apple doing in the past.
What Should Electronics Brands and Suppliers Do to Address Risks of Forced Labor in Their Supply Chains?
Verité’s two-year study of labor conditions in electronics manufacturing in Malaysia found that one in three foreign workers surveyed was in a condition of forced labor. Companies and their stakeholders have asked us to elaborate on what they should do address the problem of forced labor in supply chains.
London was awarded the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games based in some part on the bid’s broad commitment to setting the benchmark for sustainable events management. But because the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) was a temporary organization, it did not have the luxury of nurturing supplier performance improvement on labor conditions over time. Their commitment translated to managing social and environmental risk in 10,000 product lines from 600 direct suppliers and 60 licensees—almost entirely at the start of the business relationship.