During the last week of November, more than 2,000 people met in Geneva for the largest annual gathering on business and human rights. For years, Verité has actively participated in this busy week of learning and sharing, along with participants from government, business, civil society, law firms, investor organizations, trade unions, academia and the media, among others. Shawn MacDonald, CEO of Verité, and Elizabeth Garland, Senior Director of Verité’s Raw Materials Program, attended the forum this year and shared Verité’s work in a range of meetings and venues.
Important steps have been taken recently to put responsible recruitment firmly on the agenda of businesses around the world. In November at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, several panels discussed solutions to recruitment abuses. The issues were also featured prominently at the annual Trust Women Conference in London while recruitment and labor migration were key features of discussions at this year’s Global Forum on Migration and Development in Turkey. These are encouraging times for advocates of responsible recruitment in supply chains.
Palm oil has been in the news a lot lately, but the news hasn’t been good. From forest fires across Indonesia used to make way for new plantations to human and labor rights abuses, media scrutiny has uncovered the often troubling conditions associated with this almost ubiquitous oil. It has also uncovered worrying weaknesses in the voluntary mechanisms set up to promote palm oil sustainability. Add this to existing regulatory and enforcement gaps in countries where palm oil is often produced, and it is clear that these are troubling times for workers across the industry. But the news isn’t all bleak.