ICT

Themes Key Findings

2018 Information & Communications Technology

The 40 ICT companies were assessed across the benchmark's seven themes, which were developed to capture the key areas where companies need to take action to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains: commitment; traceability and risk assessment; purchasing practices; recruitment; worker voice; monitoring; and remedy. There are a total of 23 indicators across the seven themes. For each theme a company can score a total of 100 points.

32

Overall Score 2018 Information & Communications Technology
27 Theme Score

Summary of Results

Recruitment was among the lowest scoring themes of the benchmark. The average company had a policy in place to prohibit worker-paid recruitment fees, but little else to show in practice. This is concerning given the known forced labor risks associated with recruitment practices in the ICT sector.

Eight out of 40 companies outline their approach to recruitment in their supply chains– they have a policy that requires direct employment in its supply chains, require employment and recruitment agencies in its supply chains to uphold workers' fundamental rights and freedoms, and/or disclose information on the recruitment agencies used by suppliers. This includes two companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP, that have policies which require direct employment in their supply chains thereby eliminating the risks of forced labor associated with employment agencies. Both companies also require suppliers to have contracts in place with recruitment agencies which include standards on forced labor. However, this is not common practice, with only eight out of 40 companies having policies in place that require employment or recruitment agencies to uphold standards on forced labor.

Companies did not disclose information on the recruitment agencies used by their suppliers. However, four companies disclose having processes in place to identify the name or locations of labor agencies in their supply chains, or reported the countries in which they are based.

In relation to recruitment fees, Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) members have particularly strong policies in place due to their use of the RBA Supplier Code of Conduct. The most recent versions of the Code state that workers shall not be required to pay recruitment fees, and that any fees found to have been paid must be repaid to workers. Twenty-four out of 40 companies have a policy in place that prohibits recruitment fees being charged to suppliers' workers. Of companies that were scored in both benchmarks, in 2016 eight companies had such a policy in place, which increased to 12 in 2018. Hitachi, for example, having previously "not yet developed an approach" on the issue of recruitment fees has now joined the RBA and adopted the RBA Code as its Supplier Code. Samsung has since published its migrant worker policy, which prohibits recruitment fees. Moreover, while in 2016 only two companies disclosed that they reimbursed recruitment fees (Apple and Cisco), in 2018, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Samsung, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company also disclosed evidence that recruitment fees, where found, had been reimbursed to workers. This is tangible evidence of an impact on workers' lives. It is therefore encouraging that the number of companies taking action in this area is increasing; however, this represents only five out of 40 companies in the benchmark, showing a lack of action in the sector as a whole.

A quarter of companies disclose some information related to the monitoring of recruitment agencies. Most require suppliers to audit labor agencies, and a few do so directly. Some companies also outline approaches to ethical recruitment such as training labor agencies on preventing the risk of forced labor. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, for example, partnered with other ICT companies to conduct training for suppliers and labor agents based in Southeast Asia on preventing the risks of modern slavery in the recruitment of foreign migrant workers. Additionally, a few companies disclose membership of the Steering Committee of the Responsible Labor Initiative. The Responsible Labor Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on ensuring the rights of workers vulnerable to forced labor in supply chains are protected.

Twenty-six out of 40 companies have policies in place that prohibit the withholding of suppliers' workers' identification documents. Although the majority of companies have relevant policies in place for protecting migrant workers in their supply chains, only five companies disclose some evidence of how they work with suppliers to ensure that migrant workers' rights are respected. This included, for example, using training opportunities with suppliers and labor agents to hear directly from suppliers on challenges they are facing related to forced labor, and adjusting their own capacity-building efforts accordingly.

Recruitment Approach

The company has a policy that requires direct employment in its supply chains, and requires employment and recruitment agencies in its supply chains to uphold workers' fundamental rights and freedoms. The company discloses information on the recruitment agencies used by its suppliers.

The company: (1) has a policy that requires direct employment in its supply chains; (2) requires employment and recruitment agencies in its supply chains to uphold workers' fundamental rights and freedoms (those articulated in the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work), including the elimination of forced labor; and (3) discloses information on the recruitment agencies used by its suppliers

Low: 0
High: 75
8

Recruitment Fees

In its relevant policies or standards, the company requires that no fees be charged during any recruitment process in its supply chains-the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer ("Employer Pays Principle"). In the event that it discovers that fees have been paid by workers in its supply chains, the company ensures that such fees are reimbursed to the workers.

The company: (1) requires that no worker in its supply chains should pay for a job-the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer ("Employer Pays Principle"); and (2) ensures that such fees are reimbursed to the workers, in the event that it discovers that fees have been paid by workers in its supply chains.

Low: 0
High: 100
45

Monitoring and Ethical Recruitment

The company ensures employment and/or recruitment agencies used in its supply chains are monitored to assess and address risks of forced labor and human trafficking, and provides details of how it supports ethical recruitment in its supply chains.

The company: (1) ensures employment and/or recruitment agencies used in its supply chains are monitored to assess and address risks of forced labor and human trafficking; and (2) provides details of how it supports ethical recruitment in its supply chains.

Low: 0
High: 100
18

Migrant Worker Rights

To avoid the exploitation of migrant workers in its supply chains, the company ensures migrant workers understand the terms and conditions of their recruitment and employment, and also understand their rights. It further ensures its suppliers refrain from restricting workers' movement, and that migrant workers are not discriminated against, and not retaliated against, when they raise grievances. The company provides evidence of how it works with suppliers to ensure migrant workers' rights are respected.

The company: (1) ensures migrant workers understand the terms and conditions of their recruitment and employment, and also understand their rights; (2) ensures its suppliers refrain from restricting workers' movement, including through the retention of passports or other personal documents against workers' will; (3) ensures migrant workers are not discriminated against, and not retaliated against, when they raise grievances; and (4) provides evidence of how it works with suppliers to ensure migrant workers' rights are respected.

Low: 0
High: 100
38

Ethical Recruitment: Notable Example

Intel

Intel reports a new initiative which requires key suppliers to map the journey of their migrant workers, assess those journeys for risks, and develop action plans to mitigate those risks. The company discloses that more than 20 suppliers have completed this mapping so far.

Recommended Action

Recruitment Fees

Companies should ensure that no fees are charged to workers in supply chains, and incorporate the Employer Pays Principle into policies to ensure that the costs of recruitment are borne by the employer, and not the worker. Companies should also require fees to be repaid when charged, and publish evidence that these policies are being implemented.