Thomson Reuters Foundation: Corporations Tackle Forced Labor

The EcoVadis Global Corporate Social Responsibility Risk and Performance Index evaluated corporate social responsibility efforts of more than 20,000 companies and found that human trafficking and forced labor are common in global industries where minimal skills are required, reports Adela Suliman for Thomson Reuters Foundation. The good news is that companies are pursuing transparency and audits to eliminate forced labor from their supply chains. Food and beverage, construction, finance and legal firms performed above average for eliminating forced labor; agriculture and textiles were below average; and European countries performed better than countries in the Americas, Asia, Middle East or Africa. “Modern slavery has become a catch-all term to describe human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, sex trafficking, forced marriage and other slave-like exploitation with nearly 46 million people enslaved around the world, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index,” Suliman writes. The EcoVadis index ranks other sustainability efforts including those related to climate change and waste reduction. – YaleGlobal

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Corporations Tackle Forced Labor

EcoVadis report: Modern slavery, including human trafficking and forced labor, persists around the world, often in industries that require low skills
Adela Suliman
Thursday, September 14, 2017

LONDON, Thomson Reuters Foundation: Human trafficking is pervasive in global industries particularly in manufacturing sectors such as textiles, but efforts by corporations to be socially responsible are starting to have an impact, a report found on Tuesday. The EcoVadis Global CSR Risk and Performance Index evaluates the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of more than 20,400 companies in 2016. The annual index found human trafficking and forced labor were common in lower value manufacturing sectors where few skills were required, such as farming and transportation.

Companies were making more robust efforts to ensure their supply chains were clean of trafficking and forced labor - but with room for improvement, said EcoVadis. “We’re observing many companies, across all markets, making crucial year-over-year improvements to CSR performance,” said Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-founder of EcoVadis. “The criticality of supply chain CSR remains extremely high, and there’s a lot of room for all businesses to grow and improve.”

The report found that European companies scored better for CSR compared to the Americas and Africa, Middle East and Asia. Among the top performing industries were the small and medium food and beverage companies and construction companies. Finance, legal, consulting and advertising industries also fared well.

“The problem (forced labor) exists in every country and in every industry so its vital that business is part of the fight to eradicate it,” Marilyn Croser, Director of CORE Coalition, a British civil society network on corporate accountability, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Transparency is central,” added Croser, who said too many companies were providing inadequate statements or failing to report incidents of modern slavery.

The report found better performance on tackling forced labor and trafficking among companies based in countries with strong anti-slavery laws.

Modern slavery has become a catch-all term to describe human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, sex trafficking, forced marriage and other slave-like exploitation with nearly 46 million people enslaved around the world, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index. “Modern slavery is embedded into almost every area of our society, a hideous crime that robs millions of lives from their basic right to freedom,” said a spokesman at charity Hope for Justice, which works to end modern slavery.

“We believe the corporate world has an opportunity to be a leading vehicle for change in this worldwide issue, as they tackle slavery in supply chains, provide work for survivors and raise awareness within their workforce and to their consumers.” 

Read the EcoVadis report.

Read about the 2016 Global Slavery Index.

© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.