These days, around 30 million people are working under forced labour conditions. It often occurs already at the beginning of the supply chain, forced labour in the mines used for acquiring raw materials. Are the western companies aware of this or are they just turning a blind eye to it, but with a focus on their profits? According to Alex Atzberger, companies actually do want to do ethically good. It is also important for them to do so because eventually it will be reflected by their consumers. At the end of the day, an increasing profit and actually doing ethically good should be fully aligned. Most companies want to impact their supply chain, but often there is a lack of awareness and transparency. According to Alex Atzberger, governments and businesses must work together to end forced labour.
The United Kingdom is the first country that developed a legislation to force UK firms to take responsibility for the working conditions in their supply chain. Companies with an income of more than 36 million pound have to publish online evidence that none of the businesses with which they trade are reliant on slave labour. Forcing around 17,000 companies to take responsibility for every step of the supply chain. The government creates this way more transparency in supply chains, hoping that consumers can make a better informed decision at their checkout. Apart from the harsh penalties the government introduced, companies don’t want to damage their reputation or credibility. Consumers, investors and other businesses will be able to judge the company on their actions and therefore it is in the best interest of a company to feel responsible for every process in the supply chain.
By: Milan Klaver
Referenced by: The Guardian