The fight against forced labor is one of the most important challenges facing the world today. Millions of people are trapped in forced labor, and the problem is only getting worse.
Photo Courtesy of Adidas-group.com
A report by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's KnowTheChain initiative found that only two companies, adidas and Lululemon, are only two companies meeting the minimum standards for due diligence on forced labor. adidas has achieved this in part through its partnership with Labor Solutions, a provider of risk assessment and grievance mechanism technology to adidas.
Many evaluated companies are struggling to meet the minimum requirements for mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) legislation pending or passed in the EU, US, and Canada. Labor Solutions can apply what we are doing with companies like adidas to help your company respond to the two biggest challenges from the report, setting your company up for success:
Challenge #1: The report found that over 1/3 of businesses don't use risk assessments in their supply chains
Biggest Obstacles to Success: Collecting live, accurate, actionable & transparent data on working conditions + human rights directly from workers is difficult. For global buyers with distributed large supply chains, it is more difficult to manage on their own and at scale. Companies might not have adequate legacy systems in place and struggle to get supplier buy-in.
Our Solutions: Labor Solutions has been developing risk assessment technology for major multinational companies and SMEs for over eight years. Our Labor Line and its combination of eLearning can be customized to meet corporate needs, supplier realities, and worker accessibility.
But tech-first or tech-exclusive approaches are just one part of proactively remediating risks before they arise. Every company and context is different. Effective risk management systems are an ecosystem of decisions and actions. That’s why LS Advisory helps your business implement and scale WOVO to what your business needs at every step.
Challenge #2: Over 1/3 of businesses don't have grievance mechanisms in place
Biggest Obstacles to Success: Scrutiny should be applied to those who claim they have no grievances, as grievances can be found even in the most respectful workplaces. Increasingly, grievance mechanisms and evidence of remediation are being required under mandatory human rights due diligence laws (HRDD) across in the EU, Canada, and the US.
Our Solutions: One alternative to the traditional hotline model is Labor Solution’s Labor Line, a grievance mechanism designed to collect data directly from workers through the following four steps:
a. Workers can scan a QR code to access a Labor line form.
b. Labor Line asks workers customized questions and collects data – including
for follow-up with workers – with their consent.
c. Responses are sent directly to the brand
d. Brands can follow up with workers directly, better target their audits, and
produce live, auditable due diligence reports.
In removing the phone call, Labor Line increases worker anonymity for workers, making them feel more comfortable sharing sensitive issues. Brand follow-up is directly in brands’ hands, giving them an opportunity to pass localized remediation responsibilities over to a third party. Worker contact information consensually shared through Labor Line allows brands to follow up with workers directly on their case, making workers feel heard and sustaining their engagement.
Labor Solutions’ WOVO Connect was designed for companies looking to empower suppliers to resolve their own grievance issues – while maintaining brand oversight. Because of the sustained trust, it can build between workers and managers, WOVO Connect is 9x more effective than a traditional grievance mechanism. After one three-month pilot with a major footwear brand, WOVO Connect tracked cases from grievance to remediation with 25% of their suppliers and identified country-specific challenges that became integral to a brand’s sustainability strategy. Again, in just four steps, WOVO Connect simplifies the grievance-raising and remediation process :
a. Worker anonymously submits reports, questions, or suggestions via WOVO,
SMS, WeChat, QR code scan etc.
b. Supplier management gets messages on their WOVO dashboard’s case
management system and can manage, sort, and respond directly
c. Worker and management have an ongoing confidential dialogue on WOVO
connect to understand the key issue and follow up
Management gets a WOVO dashboard grievance report to better understand issues. Brands can see live reports on their WOVO dashboard to better target audits/surveys/training for workers and managers.
Few tangible outcomes for workers go beyond a “tick box” compliance approach – Labor Solutions has the case studies + research to get more companies up to adidas’ level and prove their success. Our HRDD Starter Kit can help companies to educate + implement grievance mechanisms within their value chain.