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.
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.
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.
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: