2022-2023 Benchmark Methodology Revision
KnowTheChain has long been the leading benchmark for tracking corporate practices that address forced labour within global supply chains. Through our benchmarks, analysis and practical tools we identify corporate leaders and laggards and use our research to compel corporate and investor action to address and mitigate practices that enable forced labour and labour exploitation in supply chains. After six years and nine benchmarks, we have seen a glacial rate of change in how companies are meaningfully addressing forced labour issues.
While many companies make progress in terms of their public commitment to human rights and ending forced labour, there is little evidence of whether and how policies are implemented and what impact they’re having on workers on the ground.
It is no surprise then, that the latest estimates show that forced labour, compounded by crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, and climate change, has increased significantly in the last five years.
2022 was also a milestone year for legislation around human rights due diligence, supply chain transparency and the import of goods produced with forced labour. The methodology revisions reflect and complement the new legislative developments and aim to act as a proxy for company preparedness for such requirements.
KnowTheChain’s methodology review seeks to:
- Improve our evaluation of companies’ performance in preventing forced labour and protecting workers from exploitation, i.e., ensure that our scoring more accurately measures company practice.
- Align more closely with the labour rights movement and civil society allies in their asks and expectations of companies and work more closely with them going forward.
- Better reflect the requirements of upcoming due diligence legislation to be able to provide a proxy for company preparedness for this legislation.
- Make it easier for companies to engage with the benchmark through a streamlined set of indicators.
To this end, the 2022-23 benchmarks focus on a set of key themes articulated in a smaller subset of KnowTheChain’s previous methodology. The methodology comprises 12 key indicators, and key changes include:
- Reduced focus and weight given to policies, and enhanced focus on implementation of processes, as well as outcomes for workers. Previous benchmarks have shown significant gaps between the disclosure of policy and evidence of how that policy works in practice.
- Adjusted weighting: whereas previously all themes and indicators were weighted equally, the weighting of indicators has been adjusted to give increased credit for demonstrating implementation and outcomes for workers
- Stakeholder engagement is integrated throughout the methodology, as opposed to one single indicator focusing on stakeholder engagement, to reflect how rightsholders should be engaged through all stages of due diligence processes.
- Action on lower tiers has been integrated throughout the methodology. While some leading companies have shown that addressing forced labour risks beyond the first-tier of supply chains is possible; others fall behind.
Using the revised methodology, the benchmarks seek to increase transparency and accountability around practices that will drive positive change in supply chain working conditions.