We’ve been on the hunt for apps to help you check the ethics of supply chains in companies you buy from.
The International Labour Organization estimates that more than 20 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, and as awareness spreads, more companies, consumers, governments, law enforcement agencies and institutions are seeking ways to check the human rights credentials of supply chains.
In a recent blog (“Where does slavery stop and start?”) we looked at the introduction of anti-slavery legislation in the UK and USA, and how these developments extended human rights obligations into international trade. Today, we want to share some of the practical online tools which can help you make responsible purchases.
The ILO has a number of apps to help, including “Eliminating and preventing forced labour” and “Eliminating child labour” which allow purchasers and auditors to create interactive checklists to ensure their operations are free of forced labour. Each checkpoint provides best-practice recommendations. Also, the ILO has a number of training resources specialising in this field.
The public-private Partnership for Freedom has just announced winners of its challenge – Rethink Supply Chains. The U.S initiative split $400,000 between five finalists, a runner-up and the winner — Sustainability Incubator & Trace Register – which is a risk assessment tool helping seafood suppliers and major retailers screen for risks of forced labour, and address high-risk zones in supply chains.
Another public-private partnership in the U.S. came up with the Responsible Sourcing Tool to help purchasers understand how and where risk enters supply chains. Among the collaborators for this tool is Made In A Free World which started as one man’s dream, and now boasts 25.6 million consumers supporting its work to ensure human rights are at the core of product production. Millions of people from more than 200 countries have visited MIAFW’s Slavery Footprint online quiz, which aims to raise awareness of these human rights.
“We are partnering with MadeInAFreeWorld.com to develop a risk assessment tool that will help business leaders weigh the risks of trafficking throughout their supply chains.” – John Kerry as U.S. Secretary of State
Another sourcing tool collaborator, Verité, is involved with KnowTheChain – a resource for those who need to address forced labour abuses within supply chains. KnowTheChain’s website provides practical resources to help companies comply with growing legal obligations, and operate more transparently and responsibly. It also provides a methodology framework devised to assess how 20 large ICT companies are doing in relation to forced labour in their supply chains. The companies include Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Ericsson and Canon, and the results are due next month.
As social media plays an increasing role in this field, Twitter comes into its own. There’s the very practical, British-based @Anti Slavery site which encourages consumers to post product photos and ask the manufacturer if it’s #slavefree. Anti-Slavery International claims to be the oldest human rights organisation in the world, so it won’t surprise you to find this site also has heaps of other useful resources, including bespoke audits for company supply chains. Once you start looking, there are many Twitter sites to help you keep up to date with these issues, including Universal Justice, @AntiSlaveryLaw and @noslaveryaus. The @AntiSlaveryOz page is a useful way to keep track of what’s going on in our own country.
And, if you don’t know enough about this to be a responsible consumer or government purchaser, there are short courses you can take:
- Under the umbrella of Sydney’s University of Technology, Anti-Slavery Australia has launched a free, online anti slavery course.
- The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply also offers an Ethical Procurement and Supply e-learning coursewhich issues a completion certificate.
A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the sustainable development goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria. The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour and the effective abolition of child labour are two of the ten principles of the Global Compact. The Global Compact repudiates slavery and child labour internationally.
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IMAGE: There are many apps and tools to help you inspect your supply chain. Used under licence from shutterstock.com.