Human rights abuses and forced labour allegations have been the hitting headlines in recent weeks following reports of the mass internment and surveillance of over a million ethic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, China. Sources have detailed how Uygurs are being forced to work in factories producing raw materials and goods predominantly used in food, beverage, apparel and pharmaceutical industries.

In response to such horrendous abuses, governments around the world are introducing more stringent regulations and disclosure requirements in the hope of protecting people, through the tiers. Examples of some of the key changes introduced are listed below:

  • UK – In response to calls to strengthen the UK Modern Slavery Act, the government announced proposals in September, requiring business to report against six key reporting areasing, making approval and sign-off requirements more stringent.
  • United States – U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBO) are issuing Withhold Release (WRO) to suspend the importation of goods at a U.S port of entry if the agency has reasonable evidence to suggest that forced labour was used at any tier of the supply chain. Importers will need to demonstrate that their goods are abuse free. They have also passed a Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, issued sanctions and banned the entry of goods from the region.
  • Europe -The EU is currently considering introducing sanctions, similarly to the U.S.

To help businesses continue to operate across different country requirements and meet the changing regulations whilst reducing the risk of economic, legal and reputational harm, here we outline how implementing supply chain transparency technology can support responsible, ethical sourcing objectives.

See the true scale of supply chains via mapping

To be able to conduct thorough due diligence and identify forced labour risk in supply chains, it’s vital to see the full scale of actors, all the way back to source. Using mapping technology to see the journey and origin of product components, businesses can focus attention on specific high-risk categories, locations or commodities in the first instance to prioritise efforts, provide sourcing evidence and inform changes to supplier relationships.

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Conduct due diligence to monitor risk with digital audits

As a result of the global COVID pandemic, it’s been challenging for businesses to maintain thorough auditing practices in an increasingly remote world. Implementing a digital audit solution to send assessments through the supply chain, from anywhere in the world, can help to generate risk scores, benchmark suppliers and pinpoint human rights risks.

Read how Waitrose used remote audits to support their Worker Welfare campaign

Centrally manage worker welfare documentation

Maintaining an accurate paper trail for complex supply chains can be difficult. By making the switch to a centralised solution, businesses can share, request and store key policies, ranging from sustainability policies to worker welfare measures to support responsible, ethical practices and highlight potential risk.

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Collaborate with and educate suppliers for an ethical today and tomorrow

Engaging with all actors in a value change shouldn’t be impossible. Using supply chain transparency technology empowers businesses to collaborate and educate suppliers through the tiers, driving continuous improvement and best practice.

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Interested in implementing the Authenticate platform to protect people in your supply chains and conduct human rights due diligence? Get in touch.

For more information on the Authenticate platform or to discuss your challenges and requirements, get in touch with the team.