On the heels of their benchmark report for the apparel and footwear sector, KnowTheChain has released a Resource and Action Guide for Apparel and Footwear Companies to assist them in delving deeper into their supply chains where there are the greatest risks of forced labor. This action guide highlights guidance on addressing risks and encourages companies to adopt new tools and unique approaches.
A project of Humanity United and maintained in partnership with the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), Sustainalytics, and Verité, KnowTheChain released benchmarks for the Information and Communications Technology sector, the Food and Beverage sector, and the Apparel and Footwear sector in 2016. Verité’s role in this collaboration is to provide advice and resources for companies to improve their policies and practices in combating forced labor and human trafficking across a range of key areas and sectors.
Of the 20 companies in the Apparel and Footwear Benchmark, the average overall score was 46 out of 100. This is significantly higher than the previous two sectors benchmarked in 2016. Nonetheless, there is still room for companies to improve as eight out of the 20 companies did not demonstrate awareness of or commitment to addressing human trafficking and forced labor in their supply chains.
KnowTheChain rates company performance in seven areas: commitment and governance; traceability and risk assessment; recruitment; purchasing practices; worker voice; monitoring; and remedy. The Resource and Action Guide goes beyond the recommendation made in the benchmark report to detail how companies can improve in each of these areas. The guide also highlights resources that are available to assist companies in addressing risks of forced labor and increasing their benchmark scores. A number of these resources, such as the Responsible Sourcing Tool and the Fair Hiring Toolkit were developed by Verité.
“The Resource and Action Guide is an important tool to help companies in the apparel and footwear sector improve their policies and practices, and mitigate risks of forced labor in their supply chains,” says Verité’s CEO, Shawn MacDonald. “Particular attention must be paid to the exploitation of workers through the recruitment process, a subject where Verité has been and continues to be a thought leader.”
For more information about KnowTheChain, and Verité’s role in it, please contact Philip Hunter.