Top tech companies ranked on anti-slavery efforts

IT companies have been ranked on their efforts to eradicate forced labour from supply chains.

The highest overall scorer was HP, followed Apple, Intel, Cisco and Microsoft.

Campaign organisation Know the Chain hopes its report will be used as a benchmarking tool to help other companies in the sector improve their own efforts to tackle supply chain slavery.

Firms were evaluated based on information available from companies’ websites and information released at the request of Know the Chain.

The report scored the technology companies on 22 separate indicators across the themes of commitment and governance, traceability and risk assessment, purchasing practices, recruitment, workers’ voices, monitoring and remedying violations. 

The companies were selected because of their market size and the extent their revenues come from products as opposed to services.

The report highlighted three main areas for improvement across the companies.

“ICT companies are taking little action to ensure workers have a voice throughout their supply chains,” the report said, adding companies need to “enable freedom of association” and ensure “access to trusted, effective worker grievance mechanisms”.

The report also said while some firms are taking action on suppliers charging recruitment fees, “more action is needed across the sector”.

“The majority of benchmarked ICT companies lacked an approach to recruitment that mitigates the risk of human trafficking and forced labour,” it added. 

The companies scored better on tracing their supply chains past first-tier suppliers and 16 out of the 20 disclosed processes to trace conflict minerals entering their supply chains.

However, only three of the 20 companies conducted risk assessments focusing on “specific commodities, regions or vulnerable groups of workers”.

Know the Chain said this benchmarking exercise will “give companies and investors the information necessary to understand performance, examples of good practices, and a path forward”.

They are planning to release similar benchmarking reports for the food and drink and the apparel and footwear sectors later in 2016.

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