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.
Ideally, your organisation already has a clear understanding of how looking after your workforce can have a positive effect on the bottom line, and you’d like to do more.
Whichever the motive, it’s clear that a thorough risk assessment of your supply chain is a necessary precursor to sensible action and change. Worker treatment risks can be the murkiest area of the supply chain to unpick, and not helped by managers and factory owners being incentivised (often inadvertently by the brand itself) to paint a falsely positive picture of their operations. We know for instance that despite repeated warnings by workers, the Rana Plaza building collapsed because the motive to avoid halting production overrode health and safety requirements.
With so many layers of ulterior motives above end-of-the-chain workers, it’s no wonder that an accurate picture is an elusive one, and that the most serious problems occur in those very areas where recruitment practices are most hidden.
Consumers thankfully are starting to ask louder questions: Who made my clothes? Were the workers treated with respect? What were the safety conditions? No one except the workers themselves can answer these questions from their perspective, and their opinions need to be heard without fear of recrimination.
For these exact reasons, we have developed an assessment tool aimed at any individual working within a supply chain at any level (as well as managers and HR). The RTW Assessment is specifically designed to help brands improve their business practices the length of their supply chain. You can find out more at: https://www.responsibletradeworldwide.com/rtw-assessment/
We wish you a positive and productive start to 2017.