Creating Sustainable Supply Chains by Listening to Workers

Creating Sustainable Supply Chains by Listening to Workers

When it comes to media coverage of supply chain worker scandals –those involving human rights and safety breaches – there are plenty of stakeholders expressing their opinions, from consumers to the government.

But whilst it is hugely positive that supply chain ethics are increasingly prominent in the media, the voices of the workers at the centre of the conversation are notably missing from the discussion.

Is 2017 the year that big brands embrace supply chain transparency?

Is 2017 the year that big brands embrace supply chain transparency?

January is a time for reflection, personal or business, and for us it’s no different. As we look back over the past 12 months of global supply chain news, we are unfortunately reminded of the scandals/incidents that occurred – global brands using ‘child-labour palm oil’, the countless car wash workers found to have been trafficked and exploited, as well as fatal factory fires in Bangladesh. We have to ask, “Where are we going wrong?” Particularly since 2016 saw a big, if not the biggest push, for cleaner supply chains and more responsible business, with the likes of the Modern Slavery Act legislation as well as campaigner led initiatives such as Fashion Revolution week.

We’re only 26 days into 2017 and we’ve already witnessed major labour abuses here in the UK through an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches...

Protect Workers and Your Business through Effective Risk Reporting

Protect Workers and Your Business through Effective Risk Reporting

Chances are that, at the start of 2017, conducting business more responsibly is high on your priority list for this year.

Your business may be aiming to respond to Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act by putting together a declaration of your steps to reduce human trafficking and slavery in your business. Or perhaps your brand has suffered from reputational damage through a supply chain scandal - or has the potential to be exposed in such a way.

UK: The fight against modern slavery and human trafficking in 2016

UK: The fight against modern slavery and human trafficking in 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a year that many may wish to forget. Leaving Brexit and Trump’s election aside, the Sports Direct and Byron Burger scandals plus countless other stories of worker abuse have left us feeling that it’s one step forward and two steps back in the fight against modern slavery.

But if anything, 2016 has showed us that modern slavery is a prominent public issue now.  We’re certainly excited to focus our attention on what 2017 can bring in supply chain improvements and the eradication of human trafficking.

To do so, let’s recap on three major occurrences that have happened this year to summarise the situation going into 2017:

How Suppliers Can Earn Vital Retailer Trust

How Suppliers Can Earn Vital Retailer Trust

This year, like every year, we’ve seen a number of supply chain scandals where large UK retailers have been in the spotlight for labour abuses found somewhere within their supply chain. From Nestle coffee beans being supplied by plantations using slave labour to Beyoncé’s Topshop clothing range being made by Sri Lankan workers working in ‘sweatshop’ conditions, we’ve seen countless labour abuses in almost every industry.

Retailers are predominantly in the spotlight when a scandal occurs, the sole culprit for any occurrence of labour abuses within their supply chain because they “should have known”...

Excel in Your Modern Slavery Report 2017 and Unlock a Better Business

Excel in Your Modern Slavery Report 2017 and Unlock a Better Business

Last year, the Modern Slavery Act came into British law to address heightened levels of human trafficking and the treatment of workers in the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May’s intention was to “send the strongest possible signal that victims were not alone and that those responsible for this vile exploitation would face justice.”

Approaching the end of 2016, we have now seen published links to most of the hundreds of statements made to date. So, taking inspiration from John Lewis and other firms that embraced the spirit of Section 54, we’ve narrowed down some top tips for excelling in next year’s Modern Slavery Report.

Reduce the risk of a supply chain scandal by giving your workers a voice

Reduce the risk of a supply chain scandal by giving your workers a voice

Audit processes, accompanied by occasional spot visits may (not overly optimistic) work where the supply chain is both short and simple. But in today’s economy, the supply chain is rarely short, or simple. This makes the reliance upon independent audit regimes quite literally dangerous. Inaccurate reports can leave you at risk of exposure which can lead to not only reputational damage, but significant financial damage also.  An independent audit regime only works, as many large brands have discovered at a cost, if the audit/compliance process is free from corruption and conflicts of interest.

The Modern Slavery Act should be seen as a boost to business rather than a nuisance

The Modern Slavery Act should be seen as a boost to business rather than a nuisance

The deadline for businesses to publish their first slavery and human trafficking statements in accordance with the UK’s Modern Slavery Act has recently passed. For the past year, the duration in which the Modern Slavery Act has been in force, there has been speculation around the fact that businesses may try to avoid publishing a statement for a number of reasons

Firefighting scandals can unlock long term supply chain improvements

Firefighting scandals can unlock long term supply chain improvements

Supply chain scandals are troublingly regular occurrences in the news. In this day and age where compliance is becoming mandatory and where ethics and human rights are loudly defended, why are companies allowing themselves to be in a position where they can be (rightfully) exposed as perpetrators of such bad business practices… and repeatedly?

A recent article about Nike’s transformation from sweatshop scandals to sustainable business really got us thinking about the typical response and action businesses take following a scandal.