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1 May 2015

Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions, on IT-Director.com (USA)

Data tool helps companies detect, avoid slavery in supply chains - developed by Ariba (part of SAP)

"Big data detects and eradicates slavery risks from across B2B supply chains", 29 April 2015

[Panel discussion with Justin Dillon, CEO and Founder at Made In A Free World, and Tim Minahan, Senior Vice President of Ariba]

Business networks and big data are joining to give companies new means to identify and eliminate slavery and other labor risks from across their complex global supply chains.  Data-savvy B2B participants in these networks can now newly uncover unsavory and illegal labor practices that may be hidden deep inside multi-level supplier ecosystems... Made in a Free World, a nonprofit group in San Francisco, is partnering with Ariba, an SAP company, to shine more light across the supply chain networks to not only stem these labor practices, but also reduce the risks that companies may unwittingly incur from within their own pool of buying...

Dillon: ...There are over 30 million people...[in modern slavery] today. In...most cases, they're in informal sectors, agricultural or service industries, much of which is finding its way into supply chains...

Minahan: ...[As] companies begin to outsource more processes and manufacturing and assembly to low-cost regions, they've really looked to drive costs down. Unfortunately, what they haven't done is really take a close look at their sub-tier supply chain. So they might have outsourced a process, but they didn't outsource accountability for the fact that there may be forced labor in their suppliers' suppliers...[This] is far more pervasive than most people think. Slavery really has no boundaries. There are incidences of forced labor in all industries, from conflict minerals in the Congo to fishing in Malaysia to, unfortunately, migrant workers right here in the United States...You can certainly outsource process or manufacturing, but you can’t really outsource accountability... [There] is a big movement afoot from regulators...to hold companies accountable [for their supply chains]...

Dillon: We are using all the best databases that currently exist on the issue. Everything from forced-labor databases to child-labor databases to rule-of-law, governance, migration, trade flows. All of that is synthesized into an algorithm...which gives you some optics into your sub-tier suppliers, which is where we need the optics. It’s not a crystal ball, but it’s the next best thing. That database and analysis are now available to anyone...

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes... Read a full transcript or download a copy.

[refers to positive steps by Apple on forced labour & slavery in supply chain]