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Forced labor compliance series: Regulations and procurement’s role

12/20/2022 By

Because of its traditional status as an afterthought, procurement often engages with the world in a reactive manner. However, as procurement becomes ever more important in the running of a company, the people involved need to think about putting in place proactive processes and tools to deal with the complexities of the world as it is and as it is changing.

This is most clear in the case of forced labor. In September, the International Labour Organization publisheda reportit co-produced with Walk Free and the International Organization for Migration. The report, “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage,” estimated that 27.6 million people lived under the conditions of forced labor. In fact, this number has grown by 2.7 million since 2016 due in part to the continued fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While there is an obvious internal pressure to reduce the presence of forced labor in one’s supply chain, a mounting external pressure also exists. Governmental bodies all over have begun to implement forceful bans on importing goods made with forced labor. For example, the AmericanUyghur Forced Labor Prevention Actcame into effect in December 2021, prohibiting the importation of any goods made with any use of forced labor in Xinjiang. Similarly,the European Commission has proposed a broader ban on the sale of all goods made with forced labor in September. These regulations and the ones that will come — and they will come — put the onus on companies to prove the absence of forced labor in their supply chains.

Earlier this year, Spend Matters ran a three-part series on the technology created to assist procurement in the removal of forced labor from the supply chain. This is part of our subscription service which brings equal insight to problems throughout the procurement world. It addresses not only the solutions for these problems; it illustrates what the problems actually are — beyond the hand-waving specter of “regulation.”

Here is a recap of our modern slavery series as part of our PRO offering .

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ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)