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Sharing best practice in fighting forced labour


Average read time: 2 minutes

Key learnings aim to inspire others to tackle the global issue of forced labour

21 million people are victims of forced labour across the world

Unilever and 11 other members of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) – a global industry network of 400 retailers and stakeholders – have shared their best practice principles and case studies on how they are fighting forced labour in their global supply chains.

The case studies have been gathered in a booklet called Business Actions Against Forced Labour. It includes actionable insights and learnings from CGF members, along with the setup of new programmes, cross-sectoral collaboration and auditing schemes.

These initiatives aim to work towards CGF’s three priority industry principles: to ensure freedom of movement, that no worker should pay for a job, and that no worker should be indebted or coerced to work.

Our work in this area

Unilever’s work in this area includes the addition of guidelines on preventing human trafficking and forced labour into our policy framework. This includes our Human Rights Policy Statement, Code of Business Principles, Responsible Sourcing Policy and Responsible Business Partner Policy.

In 2017, we also published our UK Modern Slavery Act Statement (MSA), which explains the steps taken to prevent, detect and respond to slavery and human trafficking within our business and throughout our extended value chain.

In addition, we are founding members of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment – which aims to work towards a new business model in the responsible recruitment of migrant workers – tackling issues such as identifying more ethical agents and ensuring audit houses have strengthened processes in place.

The hope is that the key learnings provided in the booklet will help guide and inspire others to join us in tackling the global issue of forced labour.

Working together to create positive change

As Unilever CEO Paul Polman says: “Respecting human rights is the necessary foundation for sustainable and responsible business. We must build on it and engage actively in the promotion of rights to ensure that we succeed in our commitment.

“We acknowledge the risk of forced labour occurring in global supply chains and know there’s more we can do to strengthen our process in this area. No one sector can successfully address these issues alone, which is why we will continue to work with our business partners to create positive change.”

Marcela Manubens, Global VP Integrated Social Sustainability, adds: “Transparency is critical in allowing us to openly and effectively discuss root causes, so we can develop successful and lasting solutions and promote best practices in our industry. Transparency is an enabler of action and collaboration.”

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