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31 August 2014 | Gurjit Degun
UK food companies are being encouraged to work closely with their suppliers to tackle hidden labour exploitation.
A guide by Stronger Together calls on businesses to implement a three-step approach into their management practices. This includes mapping the risk in the supply chain, setting standards with key suppliers and working in partnership. Stronger Together is a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to reduce human trafficking, forced labour and other hidden third party exploitation of workers.
Transparency in the UK Food Supply Chain – Guidance on ensuring ethical labour standards explained: “Suppliers should form and be able to present to their customers a timetabled action plan to indicate how they are ensuring that legal and ethical requirements are complied with, how risks are controlled and that good practice is implemented throughout, and in partnership with, their whole supply chain.”
The three steps are:
• Identify the organisations in your supply chain. “What do the organisations in your supply chain look like and where are the greatest risks?” the guide asks.
• Set and agree standards. The document said: “What commitments have you made to ethical trade and human rights? What is your due diligence process? What remedial steps do you and your suppliers have in place?”
• Work together to ensure due diligence. The guide asks food companies to think about what actions they are taking to avoid and address risks; and how they track and communicate progress.