Screening for Social Accountability in Supply Chains
How can companies untangle human rights risks when facts are thin on the ground? How can companies fully assess risk?
The Labor Safe Screen produces information and relationships to support ethical sourcing. Responsible recruitment methods for example.
We won the 2016 tech challenge for innovation in supply chains:
Designed for industry to use, the Labor Safe Screen has three levels: Coarse (country of origin risk), Fine (supply chain risk) and Remedy (site-based for fishing crew or plant workers). A large number or products from high risk origins can be screened or a single product, where a deep dive is warranted.
For example, if an important seafood product is associated with forced labor by the media, the Labor Safe Screen gathers the information to learn what is going on and generates contracts and a code of conduct to help the fleet to close out exposures.
We start by mapping the whole chain. We look for where relationships are strong and weak. We look for governance gaps. We learn what types of enterprises operate where and how successfully. We see where accountability to buyer policies is strong or weak.
We are different in offering tools which are science-based, vetted and aligned with the authorities, and which work for complex and fragmented supply chains. We are looking for indicators of human trafficking defined by the United Nations in seafood work.
How far does it go? Coarse (country of origin risk), Fine (supply chain risk) and Remedy (fixes needed to protect the rights and entitlements of fishing crew and plant workers).
Results belong to the client.
Here’s how it works:
- We diagram the supply chain with all inputs and origins to a product, which can be from numerous countries.
- We look at every node of the chain for transparency, strength of governance, and the social or environmental profile of the product. We look at what the operating environment means to the company operations and to workers, in terms of risk for forced labor. Are there parts of the chain where all the work is subcontracted to manning agencies? Are there places where a significant portion of the facilities (boats, plants) are in the informal sector and unregistered? Gaps are shown to the client, who is given options. If they want to drill down, we go to a supplier questionnaire.
- Suppliers are asked to complete an inputs and origins questionnaire to get real information on every facility. Ownership, location and identifiers, workforce basics (% migrant workers etc). The object isn’t to find problems but to set up a simple line of command and obtain information systematically even through gaps.
- If any hotspots are found, we produce credible measures of risk for clients who, ideally, go on to the next steps, which are procedures for vendors, interviews with crew or plant workers, and access to remedies where needed.
- In some cases we go straight to the remedy, for example to standardized crew contracts with vessel owners and a fleet code of conduct.
Following these steps fulfills the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We designed it that way.
Our goal is to provide global companies and their vendors with everything needed to advance social accountability and solve human rights challenges in food procurement.
Contact us for a clear plan and information strategy.