Benchmark Methodology

Benchmark Methodology

The KnowTheChain benchmarks evaluate corporate efforts to assess forced labor risks in their supply chains and publishes sector specific benchmarks every two years. Companies are assessed using a methodology which is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and which covers themes such as recruitment and worker voice. In 2020/2021, our benchmarks will cover over 180 companies. This expanded list of companies will be  benchmarked using an updated methodology for each sector. 

2020/2021 Benchmark Methodology


KnowTheChain focuses on assessing the largest companies (based on market capitalization) in high-risk sectors. KnowTheChain recognizes that within this group of companies, the smaller companies may not yet have the capacity or knowledge to engage with the full KnowTheChain methodology, in particular those based in regions where human rights norms have been slow to develop. Therefore, KnowTheChain has developed a subset of indicators (Simplified Chinese / Traditional Chinese / Japanese / French / Spanish / Arabic), which it is using to assess the degree to which these companies are beginning to implement human rights due diligence and address forced labor risks in their supply chains.


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2018 Benchmark Methodology


2016 Benchmark Methodology


Each methodology takes into consideration sector-specific nuances that relate to forced labor and assesses how companies address forced labor risks in their supply chains.



Why does the methodology change?

The methodology is reviewed before every benchmark publication to align with evolving third-party benchmarks and standards and to include learnings from the previous benchmarks and feedback from other stakeholders. The methodology revision process includes sector-specific consultations with stakeholders from civil society, investors, and business.


What changed?

In addition to indicator specific changes based on emerging good practices and stakeholder feedback, KnowTheChain has strengthen its methodology in the following areas, which will continue to be a focus for improvement going forward:

    • Focusing more strongly on corporate action below the first tier, as worker abuse occurs at all tiers and workers may be more vulnerable deeper down supply chains where companies tend to have less visibility;
    • Moving the emphasis beyond policies towards processes and practices, with a particular focus on better measuring corporate performance;
    • Incorporating third-party data, such as allegations from reputable news agencies and participation in relevant industry- and multi-stakeholder initiatives, in addition to corporate disclosure.

In 2018, KnowTheChain incorporated retailers into its analysis. Retailers have responsibility for their products across their supply chains and have been evaluated using information that is supply chain-specific and that applies to the company regardless of the sector.