How Companies Must Approach Modern Day Slavery in 2017

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How Companies Must Approach Modern Day Slavery in 2017

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Companies are learning more about their supply chain and modern day slavery. The things you need to know in 2017 http://bit.ly/2foOcWY
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 6:20pm

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Pressure on companies and suppliers to investigate their supply chains for the use of modern day slavery is only expected to increase in 2017.

This year, governments began to prosecute businesses and their owners for knowingly participating in slave labor practices, and the international news media, activist groups and NGOs published multiple stories and reports on the issue.  To help companies enhance their policies and procedures in order to mitigate the presence of human slavery in their supply chains, Source Intelligence recently produced a highly informative and complimentary webinar involving some of the world’s leading experts on the topic.

Currently, the International Labor Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people worldwide are subject to forced labor conditions.  Countries, such as the United Kingdom, and even provinces, like the State of California in the United States, have adopted aggressive rules requiring companies to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery within their supply chains. 

The recent webinar by Source Intelligence covers the most current laws, statistics and best practices that companies can take when approaching risk mitigation in their supply chain.  Experts concluded that companies already embarking on assertive measures to secure transparency in their supply chains for all potential issues (conflict minerals, restricted substances, etc.) are more likely to set themselves up for success by utilizing existing tools and data to spot modern-day slavery problems.   

The alternative is to face significant risk to operations and image.

An important first step for companies is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Kristen Sullivan, Partner at Deloitte, mentioned that the effort will help companies determine how to overcome the challenges of implementing a risk assessment, namely collecting and analyzing data, proper remediation efforts and how to publicly report the results and efforts.  Companies subject to conflict minerals disclosure rules have realized a benefit because these efforts have generally enhanced visibility into their supply chains, increased cooperation among suppliers, and provided better information on risk. Experts concluded that the next step is to use these assessments to drive efforts to eradicate slavery.

NGOs are also evaluating companies for some key actions, according to Kilian Moote, Project Director at KnowTheChain.org.  In addition to reviewing a company’s risk assessment process, independent organizations may assess a company’s ability to trace products beyond first-tier suppliers, and determine whether workers at manufacturing locations “have a voice” to share complaints about working conditions. Rewarding suppliers for having positive worker policies and programs is one method that companies are utilizing to discourage forced labor conditions.

Companies should also rely on various reports produced by governments and independent organizations when focusing their efforts to remove slavery in their supply chains.  For example, the U.S. Department of Labor has identified 10 types of food products that are susceptible to forced labor; these provide a starting point for companies in the food and beverage industry.

The webinar also provides detailed descriptions about key tools, such as data collection and data management, that are available to companies.  Supply chain optimization tools allow companies to easily analyze their supply chains, clearly flagging areas of risk that companies can easily address in their efforts to eradicate modern day slavery.

To view the complimentary webinar, click here.

 

Keywords: Responsible Production & Consumption | Diversity & Inclusion | Education | Innovation & Technology | MDSA | Modern day slavery | Research, Reports & Publications | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Source Intelligence | modern day slavery act | slavery

CONTENT: Article