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Commentary: Recognising corporate watchdogs as an integral part of ethical outsourcing could help improve current auditing system

Author: Peter Bengtsen, Le Monde diplomatique, Published on: 20 September 2019

"Mica mining, why watchdogs count", April 2019

The message of responsible mica sourcing began to be hammered into the boardrooms of multinationals using mica for glittery lipsticks, shiny cars and everyday electronics...

[P]art of the solution is still overlooked: the role of corporate watchdogs. They come in different forms — investigative media, consumer networks, fact-finding civil society groups, online activists — and aim to monitor global supply chains and disclose exploitation to the public, industry and policy makers.

Had no watchdogs reported on widespread child labour in India’s mica mines from 2014, attention would be nearly zero...

On the long road to responsible sourcing, corporate watchdogs are the ones taking the first step: they scrutinise and disclose... The long hard stretch of making real changes takes years. So watchdogs remain a crucial player: they monitor...

[A]n increasing number of fashion brands now disclose suppliers. Not only but not least thanks to countless watchdog initiatives: they engage...

Moreover, no one admits to child labour in their mica supply chains or provides public verifiable documentation. All brands audit suppliers, but their contracted auditors (a multi-million euro industry itself financed by the employing brands) seem to miss many of the watchdogs’ findings. It is hard to believe auditors’ findings of no children in their supplying mica mines, when they overlooked their presence for half a decade...

Recognising these watchdogs as an integral part of ethical outsourcing could improve the current auditing system. And, no doubt, for a fraction of the cost.

[refers to Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Vauxhall, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Next]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Audi (part of Volkswagen) BMW Chanel Daimler Estée Lauder Ford General Motors Hugo Boss L'Oreal Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler) Next Opel (part of Groupe PSA) Vauxhall (part of Opel) Volkswagen