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
26 Theme Score

Summary of Results

Remedy was among the lowest scoring themes of the benchmark. Companies had much stronger disclosure in relation to corrective action processes than they did in respect of remedial actions for workers in their supply chains.

The majority of companies disclose having a process in place for developing corrective action plans with suppliers. However, only eight out of 40 companies provide detail on this process by disclosing an example or a summary of a corrective action process undertaken by a supplier.

Less than half of companies (16 out of 40) disclose potential consequences for suppliers that fail to implement corrective actions. The most commonly cited consequence is termination of the business relationship with the supplier in question. Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, and Intel state that they work with suppliers to improve their capacity before they end the business relationship. Other companies report reducing orders or production volumes with suppliers that fail to implement corrective actions.

Only seven out of 40 companies disclose a remedy process for responding to complaints, or report violations of policies. None outline adequate detail on information such as the timeframes for responding to affected stakeholders or approval procedures. Some companies are developing their approach to remedy: Ericsson states that it is working towards providing remedy to victims of human rights abuses according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and that is has held internal workshops for its employees in collaboration with the NGO Shift to understand the concept of remedy.

Three companies were identified in the benchmark (Apple, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Samsung) that had publicly available allegations of forced labor in their supply chains in the last three years. Only Hewlett Packard Enterprise issued a public response specific to the allegation identified, which outlined some steps it had taken as a result. However, it should be noted that 20 allegations were identified across all 40 benchmarked companies; but only three met our criteria for inclusion. Nevertheless, this number of allegations gives an indication of pervasive poor working conditions across the sector.

In relation to those companies that do not have publicly available allegations of forced labor in their supply chains, very few (four out of 37) give detail on outcomes of remedy processes for workers in their supply chains. However, Intel, for example, disclosed that where workers' passports were withheld, the passport must be returned and workers must be provided with personal storage for their documents.

Corrective Action Plans

The company has a process to create corrective action plans with suppliers found to be in violation of applicable regulations and/or the company's standards, with the goal of improving conditions and achieving compliance. The company's corrective action plans include potential actions taken in case of non-compliance; a means to verify remediation and/or implementation of corrective actions; and potential consequences if corrective actions are not taken.

The company's corrective action plans include: (1) potential actions taken in case of noncompliance, such as stop-work notices, warning letters, supplementary training, and policy revision; (2) a means to verify remediation and/or implementation of corrective actions, such as record review, employee interviews, spot checks, or other means; (3) potential consequences if corrective actions are not taken; and (4) a summary or an example of its corrective action process in practice.

Low: 0
High: 100
43

Remedy Programs and Response to Allegations

The company has a process to provide remedy to workers in its supply chain in cases of human trafficking and forced labor.
If no allegation regarding forced labor in the company's supply chain has been identified, the company discloses examples of outcomes for workers of its remedy process.
If one or more allegations regarding forced labor in the company's supply chain have been identified, the company discloses a public response to the allegation, and outcomes of the remedy process, including evidence that remedy(ies) are satisfactory to the victims or groups representing thevictims.
If one or more allegations regarding forced labor in the company's supply chain have been identified, and the company denies the allegation, the company discloses a public response to the allegation, a description of what actions it would take to prevent and remediate the alleged impacts, and that itengages in a dialogue with the stakeholders reportedly affected in the allegation, or requires its supplier(s) to do so.

Low: 0
High: 75
10

Remedy: Notable Example

Apple Inc.

Apple reported it discovered a case of bonded labor at a subcontractor used by its immediate supplier during an audit. The audit revealed the withholding of workers' passports, unacceptable dormitory rules, and lower than standard meal allowances. Apple states that although it attempted to work with the subcontractor to improve its practices, the subcontractor was unwilling to change. As a result, Apple's supplier stopped sourcing from the subcontractor, and took over some of its workforce. The supplier also created a supply chains responsibility department, and became a member of the Responsible Business Alliance.

Recommended Action

Remedy Process

Companies should establish a process of providing remedy to workers in supply chains with clear responsibilities, engagement with affected stakeholders, and timeframes. Disclose examples of outcomes of remedy for suppliers' workers, and evidence that remedial actions taken are satisfactory for affected workers.