Summary of Results
This theme has the highest overall score, and 18 out of the 20 companies have a supply chain standard in place. Thirteen of the standards are considered easily accessible from the website, and seven include evidence that they are approved by a senior executive.
However, only 12 of the 20 companies benchmarked have publicly demonstrated their awareness of and commitment to addressing forced labor, among them adidas and H&M. adidas has a Group Policy on Forced Labor and Human Trafficking which states that adidas strictly prohibits the use of forced labor and human trafficking in all company operations and in its global supply chain. The document further specifies that adidas prohibits and will act against all forms of modern day slavery where the company has the ability, leverage, and authority to do so. H&M's Human Rights Policy explains that the company's human rights approach is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and that the ILO's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The company commits to respect human rights in all aspects of its operations and to work with suppliers to ensure human rights are respected in its supply chain. H&M has identified forced labor as one of ten salient human rights issues for its business.
Nine companies have clear managerial responsibility and accountability, which provides a high level of assurance that the company is able to implement its policies and standards related to human trafficking and forced labor effectively. An additional six companies report on having a managerial structure to address forced labor, but provide limited details.
It is positive that 14 out of the 20 companies benchmarked train relevant internal decision-makers, and eleven companies train suppliers on risks, policies, and standards related to human trafficking and forced labor. Notably, adidas and H&M provide training to suppliers below the first tier.
In the last three years, seven companies have engaged with trade unions, local NGOs, and/or policymakers in countries in which their suppliers operate on forced labor and human trafficking. It is positive that a number of companies engage stakeholders at local level. This happens mostly in Asia (Taiwan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar) as well as in Jordan and Mexico. Many of those local level engagements were undertaken through multi-stakeholder initiatives, such the Ethical Trading Initiative's Tamil Nadu Multi-Stakeholder program or the ILO's Better Work project in Jordan, which focuses on fair recruitment.
Engagement with policy makers and unions is more limited. Some companies have engaged governments in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan via the Responsible Sourcing Network or the Cotton campaign, and a few companies report engaging with global unions. Nine companies actively participated in one or more multi-stakeholder or industry initiatives focused on forced labor and human trafficking, such as the Ethical Trading Initiative, the Fair Labor Association, the ILO Better Work Initiative, and/or the Better Cotton Initiative. Notably, adidas reports engaging with an international electronic brand who is the main customer in a shared supplier in Malaysia. Adidas asked the electronic brand to adopt more stringent policies on eliminating foreign worker deductions, and the electronic company subsequently agreed that the shared supplier fully absorb government fees levied against foreign workers in Malaysia.