Supply Chain Management

We work with governments and the private sector to improve supply chain
integrity, from beginning to end.

Supply Chain Management

Share

Slavery Exists in Every Tier of Supply Chains

In today’s global economy, goods and services are consumed far from where they are produced. Global brands procure their products tens of thousands of suppliers, making it difficult to trace a path from raw material to finished product. The overwhelming complexity of global supply chains puts millions of people, including children, at risk of forced labor and exploitation. Tens of billions of dollars worth of everyday goods that make up our diets and daily routines, from coffee and chocolate to cell phones and the clothes we wear, are tainted by forced labor.

Despite consumers’ increased demand for socially responsible goods, detecting forced labor remains a challenge. Companies contract with first tier suppliers but lose visibility on lower-tier factories beyond that. When labor is unseen, companies and governments have limited oversight or accountability. These are the conditions that allow slavery to persist and thrive.

GFEMS works with partners around the globe to improve supply chain integrity, from beginning to end. We develop tools and technologies
to help companies ensure their products are ethically sourced, and we produce research and learnings to help governments better regulate unfair and exploitative practices.

Supporting Informal Apparel Workers During COVID

The Fund’s survey of worker households in Bangladesh’s informal apparel industry, conducted in summer 2020, revealed that most had less than one week of food supplies in their home, and that only 3% of those surveyed had received any aid, either through government or NGOs. Learnings from this research supported  emergency response efforts and continue to inform longer term programming for informal apparel workers.

Read More

The Private Sector is Critical to Reducing Forced Labor in Supply Chains

We cannot end modern slavery without engaging the private sector. Buyers and factories must commit to ethical labor practices and proactively monitor and remediate risks of forced labor in their supply chains.

We are developing innovative tools to help businesses build and maintain supply chains that are free from exploitation, from beginning to end. These tools can be used by brands, buyers, and suppliers to narrow down the areas of risk in their supply chains. They support the private sector to comply with regulations, meet rising consumer demand for ethically sourced products, and protect workers throughout supply chains.

Predicting Risk and Minimizing Burden on Companies

+

To address the challenge of identifying instances of forced labor in increasingly complex supply chains, GFEMS created a scalable machine learning tool in-house that predicts the risk of forced labor at the company level with nearly 84% accuracy. By utilizing existing datasets and open source data to identify risks of forced labor, this tool minimizes the cost and burden of data collection, and acts as a first-pass screening tool for companies to perform due diligence.

Identifying Risks at Deeper Levels

+

We are working with a consortium of partners, including  ELEVATE Limited, Diginex Solutions, RCS Global, and Responsible Mining Initiative, on a project to enhance the tracing of goods made with forced or child labor. Our partners are designing and building a supply chain tracing system that captures traceability and verification data to enable companies to assess child or forced labor at deeper levels of their supply chains. Pilot tracing is being conducted in two high-risk supply chains: cotton in Pakistan and cobalt in Democratic Republic of the Congo. After this pilot period, the tools under development will be open, accessible, and replicable across different industries.

Engaging Businesses to Prioritize Social Responsibility

+

We partnered with Social Accountability International  to develop a digital platform that connects buyers with suppliers in India’s apparel sector to improve labor practices and worker conditions throughout the supply chain. While the platform grants suppliers making improvements access to new buyers, it also gives buyers greater visibility into their supply chains, reducing risk of labor compliance violations and ensuring they have access to ethical, reliable producers. The platform includes a sophisticated mechanism for monitoring production capacity, minimizing the risk that overwhelmed suppliers will turn to unauthorized subcontracting.


Apparel I India

Use Case Scenario: ELEVATE’s Unauthorized Subcontracting Risk Model

During standard social audits, auditors often do not have the time or resources necessary to verify the presence of unauthorized subcontracting (UAS). As a result, this high-risk activity is underreported and buyers do not know where their products are being made. ELEVATE’s model enables buyers to focus on where to conduct in-depth investigations, making it easier to identify high risk producers. The tool leverages standard audit data – supplier metrics such as overtime, wages paid, and health and safety non compliance – and buyer information to identify Tier 1 suppliers at highest risk of unauthorized subcontracting. Equipped with a clear understanding of where there is potential risk of UAS, buyers can direct their resources to targeted production verification or UAS assessments among their highest-risk suppliers, ultimately gaining better visibility over their supply chain.

An initial assessment of the model in its prototype phase recorded 70% accuracy in the prediction of unauthorized subcontracting at the supplier level. ELEVATE continues to enhance its accuracy through ongoing training of the model and incorporation of more qualitative information from buyers.

Related Content

Learn more about our work in other sectors

GFEMS tackles modern slavery in high prevalence sectors including apparel, construction, domestic work, global finance, commercial sexual exploitation, and ethical recruitment. Read more about our work in these sectors: