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KnowtheChain assesses 20 firms' action on forced labour in supply chains

As reports of human trafficking and forced labor abuses in corporate supply chains continue to increase, many companies are adopting policies and programs to mitigate these risks. Yet little is known about which companies are leading the way in human rights policy and practice, and where more efforts are needed.

Transparency Snapshot: A Pilot Benchmark Report report highlights initial findings from a KTC-developed pilot methodology that assessed company transparency and disclosure statements on forced labor in supply chains.

Twenty companies (left) were selected across three sectors: apparel & footwear, food & beverage, and Information and Communication Technology, for this initial evaluation.

During 2016, KnowtheChain will conduct sector-specific benchmarks on supply chain forced labour.

The report features positive steps by several companies including Apple, Intel and Patagonia.  It also highlights that many firms still have a long way to go, particularly on worker communication and supply chain transparency.

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14 January 2016

"Forced Labor in Corporate Supply Chains: A Powerful Role for Benchmarking"

Author: Phil Bloomer, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

...A report released this week by KnowtheChain, in which the Business and Human Rights Resource Center is a partner, assesses 20 companies’ policies and practices on supply chain forced labor. The report provides a “transparency snapshot” across three industries: food and beverage, apparel and footwear, and information and communications technology (ICT).

It found that 17 of the 20 have a formal corporate policy on supply chain forced labor and trafficking, demonstrating that they recognize the importance of the issue. However, only five provide evidence of how those policies are made available to vulnerable parties including workers, and only three conduct interviews with subcontracted personnel.

Most of the companies have a grievance mechanism at company level, yet only a third require their suppliers to do so. And there is a long way to go on supply chain transparency, with 4 of the 20 companies disclosing the names and locations of their first-tier suppliers.

Building on this pilot report, in 2016 KnowtheChain will benchmark companies, by sector, on their efforts to exclude forced labor from their supply chains. Companies will be compared in areas such as supply chain traceability, business relationships, recruitment practices, worker communication, monitoring, grievance procedures and remedy...

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