'Milestone' as most Fortune 100 companies with public policies act to monitor supply chains for...

4 June 2014

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4 June 2014 | Anna Scott

The majority of Fortune 100 companies with publicly available policies have developed policies to address forced labour and human trafficking, research led by the American Bar Association has revealed.

In relation to forced labour, 66 per cent have policies, according to the report, How do Fortune 100 corporations address potential links to human rights violations in a globally integrated economy?

And just over half (54 per cent) have policies aimed at tackling human trafficking, the report – also produced with the McCain Institute for International Leadership and the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University – stated.

The majority of respondents with a commitment to supply chain monitoring (68 per cent) use both internal and external monitoring. Twenty one per cent use internal monitoring only, and 5 per cent use just external monitoring.

“This is a milestone,” said Cindy McCain, co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. “The fact that a majority of the country’s leading companies have these policies and have made them publicly available is evidence that the business community has joined the fight against human trafficking.”

Sixty-eight per cent of companies engaged in global supply chains express a commitment to providing training and capacity building for company staff and 61 express the same commitment to supply chain vendors.

“We were surprised by the data, which revealed that major companies are moving more quickly than we expected to develop policies that address potential human rights and labour abuses within their global supply chains,” said ASU professor Daniel Rothenberg, who led the research.

“Some of these changes are driven by legislation, but there also appears to be an emerging norm among businesses that these issues are a key element of corporate social responsibility,” he added.

This report is part of an ongoing multi-year research project of the American Bar Association and Arizona State University to improve understanding of what major corporations do to combat human rights abuses in their global supply chains.

• The Queen has outlined the Modern Slavery Bill in her speech for the State Opening of Parliament, which will include life sentences for offenders in relation to trafficking for forced labour, among other offences. Organisations will also be held to account by a new anti-slavery commissioner to be created under the new laws. 

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