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.