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Procurement’s role in combating modern slavery: Framing the ESG challenge and how to evaluate vendors that can help

08/10/2021 By

This Spend Matters PRO article provides an overview of modern slavery as it relates to social concerns and supply chains, including current government actions and monitoring methods. It is part of our ongoing ESG series, which looks at the technology and issues surrounding environmental, social and governance topics.

Automation may be a dominant narrative of manufacturing and technology, but the reality is that much of the world’s goods are made and delivered by human hands. And as supply chains have become increasingly globalized and complex, procurement organizations today have far less visibility into how the products and materials they purchase are actually produced.

Complicating matters, labor issues in the supply chain are far from transparent. Despite well-intentioned efforts like auditing programs and stringent supplier codes of conduct, the conditions that lead to forms of modern slavery are numerous, and the definition of what specifically constitutes modern slavery is itself ambiguous. In response, governments have begun taking a closer look at these issues, creating regulatory structures designed to specifically drive changes in supply chains.

This trend, in addition to factors around brand and profitability, make procurement’s awareness and involvement in identifying, eliminating and preventing modern slavery in the extended supply chain all the more important.

To assist in this effort, this PRO article also provides a submarket segmentation of technology providers by maturity, along with short profiles of specific vendors to consider for managing human rights concerns.

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ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)