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KnowTheChain report highlights gaps and better practices on worker voice and remedy

"Forced Labor Action Compared: Findings from Three Sectors. With recommendations for companies across sectors, business and multi-stakeholder associations, and investors", 18 Apr 2017

In 2016, KnowTheChain ranked 60 companies across three high-risk sectors on their efforts to eradicate forced labor from their global supply chains. Selecting some of the largest companies in information and communications technology (ICT), food and beverage, and apparel and footwear, worth a combined market capitalization of more than US $4 trillion, KnowTheChain produced three benchmarks.

KnowTheChain released an analysis of these benchmarks, including cross-sector comparisons, examples of best practice, and recommendations on common areas where companies can improve.

Some key findings across the three sectors:

  • Average sector scores were below 50/100, indicating significant room for improvement across sectors. 
  • In each sector, one company received a score of 0/100 (Belle International, Monster Beverage, Keyence), indicating a concerning lack of action. 
  • Apparel companies tend to be more advanced in their efforts, while food & beverage companies lag behind. This reflects the level of media attention and civil society pressure companies in each of the sectors have received.

KnowTheChain’s analysis shows that all evaluated companies have a long way to go to truly address the risk of forced labor in their supply chains. Yet, examples of good practice, particularly from the apparel sector, offer models that low scoring companies can follow. Nike and Primark should be commended for their effective methods of worker engagement, and Adidas and H&M demonstrate strong methods of addressing restrictions to freedom of association and trade union engagement. The report highlights findings that can benefit companies regardless of their sector, and makes recommendations for business associations, multi-stakeholder associations and investors on future steps to combat the risks of forced labor.

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