Forced Labor Risks: Major Food and Beverage Brands’ Response Inadequate
KnowTheChain released its second benchmark report today, which ranks the 20 largest food and beverage companies on their efforts to address forced labor in their supply chains. Though the report shows that there is growing awareness surrounding the issue of forced labor, there is still…
October 17, 2016
Though the report shows that there is growing awareness surrounding the issue of forced labor, there is still far more to be done. The average score of all 20 companies that were ranked across seven measurement areas was 30/100, with 17 companies scoring less than 50 points.
Food and beverage supply chains pose acute risks unique to the industry: workers in sourcing regions can easily fall victim to forced labor, especially women and migrants who are some of the most exploited workers in the world. Despite this reality, companies are falling short in their approach to recruitment processes. The average score in this area is 10/100.
Yet, some findings are encouraging. Seventeen of 20 companies have processes in place to trace some aspects of their supply chains. However, no company has achieved full traceability and tracing trends are limited in scope to certain tiers of the supply chain or commodities such as palm oil. Other commodities at risk of forced labor, such as beans, nuts and seafood, fall under the radar of companies’ tracing efforts. Also promising is that 15 of the companies integrate labor standards (including a prohibition on forced labor) into their supplier contracts; however few complement this with purchasing practices that support suppliers that have strong labor practices such as offering long-term contracts.
The benchmark also highlights specific areas of improvement for companies and identifies leading practices and standards for companies to adopt.