The international supply chain is a complex system that requires businesses’ increased attention and transparency due to the prevalence of human rights issues, from child labor and forced labor to human trafficking. This was the topic of a recent webinar presented in conjunction with the Department of Labor on these issues and some resources companies can use to ensure their business operations are free of any detrimental labor practices. The U.S. Department of Labor’s latest report identified 215 million children engaged in child labor and 21 million people in forced labor. These reports are designed to help companies alert themselves to potential issues within their own supply chain.
The Department of Labor’s Toolkit for Social Compliance Systems gives an eight-step process designed to identify and correct labor issues:
- Engage stakeholders and partners – Value the importance of getting external entities involved in your social compliance system.
- Assess risks and impacts – Understand supply chain mapping as a critical step in assessing risks and impacts of labor abuse.
- Develop code of conduct – Become familiar with industry or cross-sector codes that may be relevant to you.
- Communicate and train across supply chain – Learn about appropriate communication channels and training formats for different audiences.
- Monitor compliance – Be familiar with the components and flow of a typical audit.
- Remediate violations – Learn about specific actions you can take to correct child labor and forced labor violations and prevent them from recurring.
- Independent review – Study the difference between auditing and independent review, and understand the importance of independent review as a critical step in the social compliance process.
- Report performance – Understand the reasons for reporting publicly on your social compliance program, and the benefits for your company.
Learn more at the 3BL Media article: A Corporate Approach to Eradicating Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking in the Supply Chain.