It is the human rights abuse that everybody likes to maintain is not happening. But within corporate supply chains across the developing world – from the cocoa-growing lands of the Ivory Coast to the seafood sector of Thailand – human trafficking and modern day slavery is still commonplace, with people being made to work and live in appalling conditions with little or no pay.
The challenge of managing corporate reputation in an era of complex global supply chains is rarely out of the spotlight. From poor working conditions to environmentally unfriendly practices, there are a growing number of areas where brands are at risk from the rise of multi-tier supply chains. A succession of scandals has brought the supply chain to the public’s attention - from horse meat being discovered in the ready meals of UK retailers to factory fires in Bangladesh and exploitation of tin for mobile phones in Indonesia. The culmination of these stories means what was once an internal company process is now very visible to the public and runs the risk of inflicting serious damage on a brand's reputation.