The Future of Supply Chain + Human Rights Due Diligence is Here: What does it Mean for You?

The next decade will be pivotal for the future of business and supply chain due diligence. The UNGPs 10+ Roadmap for the Next Decade announced in December 2021 highlights the importance of "demonstrating human rights due diligence and effective engagement as well as grievance management in just transition planning" for companies. Labor Solutions is helping companies address human rights issues in a way that not only meets the needs of the due diligence laws but creates long term sustainable change for people within supply chains.

2021 was a landmark year for mandatory human rights due diligence legislation with new laws proposed or enacted in the EU, the Netherlands, New York State, Norway, Germany, and Canada. While negotiations are still ongoing for some of these laws, passage in some form seems all but inevitable.


Much like the GDRP, put together, these laws have broad reach and will undoubtedly impact companies globally, even those without operations in the countries from where laws originate. Human rights due diligence will become a prerequisite for doing business globally.


Labor Solutions estimates 35 million companies will be held accountable for human rights violations along their value chains beginning in 2024 at the latest.


Companies will need to, amongst other things;

  • Proactively map risks;

  • Provide accessible and anonymous grievance mechanisms to capture issues;

  • Enact fair and transparent remediation to address issues;

  • Educating workers, suppliers and other stakeholders of their rights and responsibilities; and

  • Proactively seek worker input to evaluate the efficiency and outcomes of due diligence programs.

Labor Solutions is committed to helping companies meet these emerging standards:


Workers

1. Map human rights risks in the workplace and supply chain using worker surveys

Legislation requires companies to proactively map supply chain risks to best understand where additional resources are needed. Listening to workers is key to uncovering issues, mapping systemic, systematic or single occurrences issues.


Worker Surveys are effective at proactively asking workers about their experience Often workers need someone to proactively reach out to feel comfortable reporting an issue or to even know they have experienced a violation.


Over the last decade, Labor Solutions has deployed worker surveys to help companies identify gaps, key actors and systemic challenges. Examples include using surveys to; pin-point violations in the recruitment process, map worker fees, uncover poor managers and understand the scale and type of sexual harassment occurring around the workplace. Worker surveys are also useful to gather baseline information on what workers already know about their rights to help companies target training efforts or other outreach activities. They can also serve as a tool to measure the effectiveness of mitigation and remediation efforts.


2. Provide an accessible grievance mechanism for workers

Many regulations mandate grievance lines to ensure the collection of these issues. Going forward companies of all sizes throughout the supply chain will need to prove they have a way to collect feedback from workers and that they have policies and actions to remediate these risks.


Implementing Labor Solutions' Grievance Management and Worker Dialogue Tools will be sufficient in meeting grievance management requirements. Grievance Management Systems and Worker Dialogue Tools provide real-time constant feedback to help advocates stay ahead of violators.


Companies who proactively implement their own grievance lines, will have better outcomes, both in terms of the reduction of risks and in the protection of workers.


Worker Surveys are a tool to help companies set annual goals, while worker dialogue tools are used to help companies address imminent challenges, quickly pivot and make daily decisions to protect workers.


3. Implement clear and transparent remediation policies and procedures.

Collecting data isn't enough. Responding and following up with workers is key to ensuring rights are protected. Building effective grievance mechanisms is core to our work, work with the Labor Solutions team to ensure the implementation of a worker voice and grievance program that works.


The Labor Solutions grievance system, not only allows on-going conversation with the reporting worker, but it also allows companies to systemically send feedback and updates to all workers. The on-going communication allows for a deeper understanding of the issue. The broadcasting feature ensures all workers know the company cares and acted, encouraging workers to continue to use the system.


The Labor Solutions team is also skilled at supporting companies to create grievance management policy and procedures to ensure systems work once implemented. The team also specializes is remediation support to help companies effectively respond to complex workplace challenges.


4. Streamlining digital education and technology services across global supply chains via tools is key to upskilling workers and managers to protect themselves and reduce and proactively remediate risks when they arise.

Many systematic human rights challenges have existed for decades and are considered the norm by all. Education is a key step to helping workers and managers understand their rights and to speak up when something is wrong.


Education also helps incentive violators to change their ways. Many violators, like migrant workers agents, are resistant to to change because the existing industry provides them no other option. By creating markets that require better and educating stakeholders about standards helps redesign the industry.


eLearning is an affordable and effective tool to reach more stakeholders and ensure everyone within your supply chains knows your ethos.


Labor Solutions provides a host of eLearning courses on salient human rights issues designed with industry experts, including topics on Worker Rights + Responsibilities, Forced Labor + Workplace Harassment, Family Planning + Parenting, and Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Gender Discrimination + Sexual Harassment. Data from eLearning allows companies to ensure compliance. Companies are incentivized to participate the learning journey through earning badges and easily tracking and sharing progress with stakeholders. Our Dashboard shows the number of workers trained overtime and the percentage of current workers trained across your supply chain to help you measure your impact, while ensuring your current team is up to date.


5. Ending modern slavery and forced labor means promoting responsible recruitment and eliminating sexual and gender-based violence and harassment (SGBVH).

Labor Solutions is developing two exciting industry-wide partnerships, both of which will lead to expanding our Worker Survey offerings for Forced Labor and Responsible Recruitment and Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Harassment (SGBVH). Get in touch with our teams directly to hear more.

6. A more robust business case for responsible sourcing in global supply chains must be built with Labor Solutions and partner organizations as research extends beyond scorecards, rankings, and tick-box ESG reporting.

Leveraging data to improve business practice is a core priority for Labor Solutions. Scoring and ranking companies is an effective first step – but not a solution – to nuanced, localized issues driving worker engagement along a supply chain.


Labor Solutions is committed to building robust business cases and showing our clients a thorough return on investment (ROI) for the social component of ESG. A recent article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the subject points out: “Returns from addressing women’s health in supply chains, for example, do not appear in quarterly sound bites, but often take years to emerge. Yet good performance on health can be a proxy for good corporate supply chain management and risk mitigation.” Consulting firms and/or academic research institutions should continue partnering with third parties like Labor Solutions to further boost the business case for engaging workers along supply chains.

The Good Business Lab, the Children’s Place, and Shahi Exports have already partnered with Labor Solutions on innovative research finding that workers were 9 times more likely to use Labor Solutions’ WOVO tool than traditional grievance channels, like suggestion boxes, and ‘open door policies.’ Labor Solutions hopes to leverage this and other research-based partnerships to take our best-practice findings global and public 2022.


In 2022, Labor Solutions will remain at the forefront of future trends for business and supply chain due diligence. If you want to keep your business ahead of the curve, get in touch with our team at info@laborsolutions.tech.