Executive Briefings

KnowTheChain Ranks Supply Chains That Are Fighting Forced Labor

KnowTheChain has launched a ranking of 20 large apparel and footwear companies on their efforts to eradicate forced labor and human trafficking from their supply chains, finding that only a small group of companies seriously addresses exploitation. Most companies have systems in place to monitor and react to forced labor and human trafficking, but few companies address systemic causes, the human rights group says.

The four highest-performing companies (Adidas, Gap, H&M and Lululemon) achieve scores above 60 out of 100. Among the lowest performing companies are Hong Kong-based Belle International Holdings, Chinese clothing manufacturer Shenzhou International Group Holdings and the luxury Italian fashion house, Prada. Across seven measurement areas, the average company score is 46 out of a possible 100. Overall, luxury brands including Hugo Boss, Kering (holding company of Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Stella McCartney and others) and Ralph Lauren score much lower than high street apparel retailers (such as H&M, Inditex or Primark), with none achieving an above average score, according to KnowTheChain.

Worker voice is one of the lowest scoring themes of the benchmark. Only four companies proactively communicate the existence of a grievance mechanism to their suppliers' workers, and only five companies engage workers outside of the context of their workplace in a manner that may give more voice to workers, KnowTheChain says. Engagement with supply chain workers is an area where the industry needs to significantly improve, the group says, not least as engagement with workers can help identify, resolve and prevent labor abuses in the supply chain that traditional monitoring systems do not catch.

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The four highest-performing companies (Adidas, Gap, H&M and Lululemon) achieve scores above 60 out of 100. Among the lowest performing companies are Hong Kong-based Belle International Holdings, Chinese clothing manufacturer Shenzhou International Group Holdings and the luxury Italian fashion house, Prada. Across seven measurement areas, the average company score is 46 out of a possible 100. Overall, luxury brands including Hugo Boss, Kering (holding company of Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Stella McCartney and others) and Ralph Lauren score much lower than high street apparel retailers (such as H&M, Inditex or Primark), with none achieving an above average score, according to KnowTheChain.

Worker voice is one of the lowest scoring themes of the benchmark. Only four companies proactively communicate the existence of a grievance mechanism to their suppliers' workers, and only five companies engage workers outside of the context of their workplace in a manner that may give more voice to workers, KnowTheChain says. Engagement with supply chain workers is an area where the industry needs to significantly improve, the group says, not least as engagement with workers can help identify, resolve and prevent labor abuses in the supply chain that traditional monitoring systems do not catch.

Read Full Article