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13 Nov 2019

KnowTheChain Investor Snapshot: Forced Labor in Forestry (incl. Paper & Forest Products)


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KnowTheChain assessed 39 of the largest publicly listed companies in the paper and forestry and home furnishing retail sectors on their efforts to address forced labour risks in their supply chains, based on publicly disclosed information. The findings show a stark lack of action.

Most of the world’s largest forestry companies producing paper or wooden furniture are failing to protect their workers from forced labour:

  • Just 3/39 companies ban suppliers from charging workers recruitment fees, which can lead migrant workers into debt bondage
  • None of the 39 companies disclose engaging with supply chain workers’ groups such as trade unions
  • While 59% of the companies disclose a supplier code of conduct that includes provisions on forced labor, only 5% disclose having a remedy process in place for workers who are found to have been subjected to forced labor or other labor rights abuses.

Responsible investors have a role to play in ensuring that forestry companies are making efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains. This briefing provides investors:

  • Evidence of forced labor in the global forestry sector
  • Questions to ask portfolio companies
  • Red flags in corproate reporting to watch out for