Tag Archives: slavery

Humanity, Environment, Ethics – For A Responsible Supply Chain

Tackling modern slavery might seem like an insurmountable problem for you to tackle alone, but even a reduction of one is huge. 

January: Human Trafficking Awareness Day

April: World Earth Day

In between these two months at the very beginning of the year, and surrounded with newly renewed resolutions, many of us go about our day to day lives.

Negative media and events increase. Technology brings these stories to us, and we “click” on them, but nothing changes.

Years ago it was easy to hide child labor and human bondage. No one paid attention to deep sea fishing trawlers or dingy factory floors in remote parts of the works. But now, this is front page news.

One thing is clear – the number of those in bondage have grown. How could that be? If there is now more exposure, more news, more awareness – how can the number of people enslaved be increasing?

The numbers are staring at us in the face. The International Labor Organisation recently shared that there are more than 45 million enslaved today.

This number grows yearly. Every corporate procurement individual must take responsibility for going beyond audit compliance to drive continuous improvement in our supply chains and eliminate modern slavery. We must go beyond one-off state level (California Transparency Act) and country level (UK Modern Slavery) initiatives to pave the way for a binding international consensus that covers global supply chains and cooperation between countries to accelerate action.

What can supply chain professionals do?

Turn to technology. Technology can help mine, collate, compile and quickly pin point areas of actions

  1. Breakthrough innovations in production and processing including IoT can generate signals that provide advanced warning helping to limit forced labor
  2. Mobile phones can be used to track labor rights violations and working conditions
  3. Blockchain is being used to track labor contracts
  4. Trusted distributed ledgers are also used for tracking at source ‘ethical’ practices
  5. AI/ML can scour through vast volumes of data to generate high intensity negative signal, sifting through noise to help corporate buyers focus on supplier co-development efforts
  6. Procurement networks can help provide visibility to ethical sources of supply, highlighting those companies that do good and establishing solid, long-term relationships for a responsible supply chain

I recently outlined the specific actions procurement can take to generate the much needed momentum to bring forced labor incidences down to zero.

But if you and I, the corporate and personal buyers, do not act on all this information – yet another decade will pass. The numbers of those enslaved might double or triple. Is this the world we want to leave behind?

Tackling modern slavery might seem like an insurmountable problem for you to tackle alone, but even a reduction of one is huge.  Little drops of water make a mighty ocean…

Are you ready to act?

As an individual?

For your team?!

Because as US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven said in his motivational speech “If you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed”.

This article was written by Padmini Ranganathan, Global Vice President – SAP Ariba.


Procure with Purpose – Join the movement

Procurious have partnered with SAP Ariba to create a global online group – Procure with Purpose.

Through Procure with Purpose, we’re shining a light on the biggest issues – from Modern Slavery; to Minority Owned Business; and from Social Enterprises; to Environmental Sustainability.

Yesterday’s webinar on modern slavery,  Procurement Unchained, will soon be made available on-demand via the Procure with Purpose group on Procurious. Click here to enroll and gain access to this and all subsequent Procure with Purpose events. 

Could The 21st Century Wilberforce Please Stand Up?

The world is in dire need of a 21st century William Wilberforce to realign the corporate moral compass on this increasingly pressing issue of modern-day slavery

In the early 1800s, the politician and social reformer William Wilberforce famously spearheaded the movement to abolish slavery. His campaign was long and hard-fought, beginning in 1787 with the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and culminating in 1833 when the House of Commons passed the Slavery Abolition Act.

Wilberforce, by this stage, was in poor health and died just three days after seeing his life’s work pay off. But he had achieved what he set out to – slavery was effectively wiped out across most of the British Empire.

Modern Slavery Today

There are more than 30 million forced labourers around the world today.

Now, nearly 200 years later, I can imagine Wilberforce turning in his grave at the prevalence of modern slavery in today’s supply chains and the thought of all he worked for being undone.

According to the International Labour Organisation, there are more than 30 million forced labourers around the, with recent high-profile cases uncovered in almost every industry – from indentured servitude in commercial fishing near New Zealand to child labourers in the cocoa and coffee industries in Latin America and Africa.

Closely analysing suppliers and, perhaps even more importantly – where businesses tend to source their components or raw materials, can reveal alarming and eye-opening results.

A construction company, for example, might discover it is using iron from China, where the industry is poorly regulated and there is a high probability of forced labour.

A search for women’s shirts in Malaysia could reveal cotton sourced from Mali, another potentially problematic region in terms of labour practices.

As with so many areas of modern life, it feels like we’re forgetting the lessons we should have learned from history – to the point that we’re in dire need of a 21st century Wilberforce to realign the corporate moral compass on this increasingly pressing issue.

Procurement pros should take center stage on tackling modern slavery

Procurement has a crucial role to play in the fight against modern slavery. These issues allow procurement to move away from the “back office” and take centre stage.

Previously mundane tasks such as supplier screening actually turn out to be critical in helping a company stamp out the scourge of poor labour practices, indentured workforce and poor working conditions, whether in Bangladesh or the UK – where recently arrived immigrants are working for less than a minimum wage.

More than a third of UK businesses are still failing to combat modern slavery, according to the latest CIPS survey.

The EU recorded the largest increase in slavery of any region worldwide (according to research by British analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft) with 20 of its 28 states reporting higher levels of slavery than they did in 2016.

There is clearly still more work to be done.

Who should step forward and become the new William Wilberforce?

Another Parliamentarian?

A leader with deep religious beliefs?

NGOs?

Pressure groups who can organise boycotts?

Brand attacks might ignite fleeting moments of righteous social media outrage, but society needs to dig a lot deeper to effect lasting change. You can boycott your local shop but that won’t impact a large buyer of steel or soybeans.

You have to persuade companies that it’s not just the right thing to do but that it’s also better business.

My view is the CPOs of the largest companies are best placed to start solving this problem. Collectively, the Global 2000 spend $12 trillion on goods and services annually so by tying their purchases to purposes, these companies can ensure they provide fair labour practices across their supply chain.

Now is the time for a coalition of well-intentioned and influential businesses to come together and become a modern-day Wilberforce that can stamp slavery out for good.

SAP Ariba’s James Marland will be speaking at Big Ideas Summit on 26th April 2018. To find out more information and register to attend in person or as a digital delegate visit our dedicated site. 

From Cannonballs to Mobile Apps: The Fight Against Modern Slavery

Disney, Walmart and other big players have partnered with Humanity United to launch Working Capital, a $23 million early-stage venture fund aimed at creating scalable, ethical supply chain innovations.

Image: Royal Navy Brig “Acorn” chasing a slaver vessel in 1841, by Montague Dawson.

In 1808, the Royal Navy established the Preventative Squadron, tasked with suppressing the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa. By 1860 the Squadron had captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans. In the meantime, America fought a long and bloody civil war before the Emancipation Proclamation could finally be enforced through all regions.

Abolition in the 19th century – in the very simplest terms – was driven firstly by a change in the law, then enforced with the barrel of a British frigate’s cannon or a Union Army soldier’s rifled musket.

In today’s fight against modern slavery, we’re seeing a new wave of legislation, including the UN Global Compact, the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, France’s Duty of Vigilance law, Holland’s Child Labour Due Diligence law, and similar legislation being considered in Switzerland and Australia. Yet, as we know, the insidious nature of modern slavery means the perpetrators are considerably more difficult to identify than they were 200 years ago. That’s why modern slavers must be fought not with guns, but with tech solutions that remove their sources of income.      

Big names behind venture launch

Working Capital was launched by Humanity United last week with the goal of “accelerating supply chain innovations to enable corporations to operate more transparently and ethically around the world”. The launch made headlines due to the leading brands that are on-board with Working Capital, including: Walmart Foundation, C&A Foundation, Stardust Equity, Open Society Foundations (Soros Economic Development Fund), The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and The Walt Disney Company. The fund also received £2.5 million in sidecar grant funding from the UK’s Department for International Development.

Ed Marcum, Managing Director at Working Capital, said in a statement that “There is a growing market demand for more transparent and responsible corporate supply chains. We see an opportunity to invest in emerging solutions that will meet the demands of large multinational corporations while also benefiting millions of vulnerable workers.”

A press release from Humanity United says the fund focuses on product traceability, worker engagement, sourcing platforms, risk assessment, and ethical recruiting tools by investing in emerging technologies such as blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital identity and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. 

Two tech platforms that are about to be scaled up

 At present, Working Capital’s portfolio of slavery-fighting tech solutions lists two organisations:

Provenance: Described as “Fairtrade on the Blockchain”, Provenance is a technology platform that uses blockchain to enable brands, suppliers, and stakeholders to trace products along their journey from producer to consumer.

Ulula: A software and data analytics platform that allows organizations to engage with workers in real time to measure and monitor labour-related risks, creating more responsible global supply chains.

Watch this space

As companies such as Provenance and Ulula use this cash injection to maximise their impact, be prepared for the appearance of anti-slavery plug-ins to existing systems or even mobile Apps that rate and lock-out the use of risky suppliers.

While 19th century slavery was fought on the battlefields and on the high seas, the 21st-century frontline exists on the smartphones of procurement professionals around the globe. 


In other Procurement news this week:

 Germany’s biggest trade union strikes

  • About 260 companies were affected by thousands of striking metal and engineering workers in Germany last week.
  • The IG Metall union wants an 8% pay rise and reduced hours on full-time pay to enable workers to care for children or elderly or sick relatives. The IG Metall union has 3.9 million members.
  • The companies involved are currently willing to negotiate on pay not on reduced hours.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-wages/german-industrial-workers-start-24-hour-strikes-in-row-over-pay-hours-idUSKBN1FK0GA

 

Bananas threatened with extinction as history repeats itself

  • The Cavendish, the world’s most popular type of banana, is facing extinction as a fungus known as the Panama Disease takes hold.
  • The first strain of Panama disease, known as Race One, wiped out the Gros Michel banana in the 1950s, previously the world’s most popular banana.
  • The current strain (Race Four) now attacks Cavendish and other cultivars. 47% of bananas grown worldwide are Cavendish, with 55 million tonnes grown per year.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-35131751

 

Facebook reports more active users, less time spent on site

  • Users spent approximately 5% less time on Facebook, which translates to around 50 million hours a day, from October to December 2017.
  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg commented that the priority was encouraging more personal interaction among users. Active users rose 14% to 2.13 billion people in the same three months.
  • Facebook’s annual advertising revenues jumped 47% to over $40 billion, while profits jumped 56% to $16 billion. Despite these figures, the company is adjusting its News Feed to prioritise posts from friends and family and make sponsored content less prominent.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42893051

Spot the Signs: 9 Ways To Identify Modern Slavery

Contrary to popular belief, the victims of modern slavery are not always hidden away in secret locations. After a 126% increase in reported slavery, Crimestoppers UK has partnered with a labour abuse authority to help the public – and supply management professionals – recognise slavery taking place in their own backyard.  

As procurement professionals worldwide move to stamp out modern slavery in their supply chains, the enormity of the challenge needs to be met with every available tool. Compliance with legislation, accreditation programs, policies and procedures are all very necessary, but so, too, is simply keeping your eyes and ears open when visiting suppliers on-site.

Crimestoppers and the GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) have released nine common signs that victims of modern day slavery share. These signs are intended to raise public awareness and encourage people to report their suspicions, but many are relevant for supply managers, too. Keep an eye out for these signs when visiting your first-tier suppliers, and encourage your suppliers to do the same with their suppliers, and so on.

Nine Signs to Spot

Victims of modern slavery may:

  1. Show signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment
  2. Look unkempt, often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene
  3. Be under the control and influence of others
  4. May have inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment
  5. Be collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis
  6. May be isolated from the local community and their family
  7. Live in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation
  8. Have no access or control of their passport or identity documents
  9. Appear scared, avoid eye contact, seem untrusting

Crimestoppers’ statistics in the UK alone show a 126% increase in information received on slavery in the past six months compared to the previous six-month period. It is this general rise in slavery figures nationwide which reflects why the GLAA has recently been granted a broader remit and stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy, introducing the capacity to search and seize evidence and investigate modern slavery where it relates to labour abuse and other offences.

Emily Van der Lely, Crimestoppers Lead on Slavery, said: “It’s so awful to hear that slavery is even an issue in this day and age, but we want to reassure victims that it is an issue that is taken extremely seriously, and make it clear to perpetrators that they will be found and prosecuted.

“By launching this campaign, we will educate the public as to the signs to spot and let them know that they can take action on this horrendous crime, without compromising their anonymity.”

Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of the GLAA, said: “The public need to understand and be aware that modern slavery is happening right now, in and around the communities they live. Exploiting someone for their labour, forcing them to work, using people as commodities – these practices are abhorrent and we need the public’s help to stamp it out..”

Common industries for modern slavery:

  • Transport
  • Warehousing
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Maritime
  • Restaurants/Takeaways
  • Car Washes
  • Nail Bars

 


In other news this week:

EU Data Protection Compliance: are you prepared?

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect in the EU on May 25th, 2018. Under the new legislation, data subjects have the right have their data erased, obtain information about exactly what data is being processed, receive a copy of personal data concerning them, and fight decision that affect them that have been made on a purely algorithmic basis.
  • Data science company, Dataiku, has published a white paper detailing how organisations that handle big data can start on the path towards GDPR compliance.
  • The report identifies the following five critical challenges: data storage, aligning teams, accommodating data subject requests, data governance and adaptability.

Click to download the report: Five Essential Pillars of Big Data GDPR Compliance

 

Chinese Supply Costs to Rise

  • An authoritative report from The Beijing Axis titled The China Compass has recommended that organisations recalibrate procurement from China as the country shifts to higher cost and higher value-add manufacturing.
  • The report recommends organisations adapt their supply focus by shifting to tier-2 suppliers in China and tier-1 suppliers in lower-cost Asian countries.
  • China is tipped to provider higher-end solutions and technology in industries where it has gained an advantage.

 

Social Procurement Platform a World First 

  • VendorPanel, an Australian Procurement technology company, has launched an online platform called ProcureForGood to drive positive social and economic change.
  • Reportedly the first such platform of its kind, ProcureForGood brings together multiple verified social procurement databases onto one marketplace platform.
  • The platform is the result of a collaboration between VendorPanel, Supply Nation, BuyAbility (National Disability Service) and Social Traders, and is predicted to be powerful for managing the large volume of low-value procurement (under $150k) that exists within government and corporate organisations.

Visit ProcureForGood.

Image credit: Thedreambuildersproject.com