• With recommendations for companies across sectors, business and multi-stakeholder associations, and investors

Forced labour is a risk for all importing global companies. Public awareness of forced labour in supply chains has grown, regulations requiring companies to take action have continued to emerge—businesses are being held to higher transparency and legal standards. Companies across all sectors importing goods from high risk countries can no longer afford to ignore this issue.

With a combined market capitalization of more than US $4 trillion, the companies analyzed by KnowTheChain represent some of the largest companies in the world. These companies were evaluated in seven categories and received a score out of 100 possible points.

Key findings across the three sectors include:

  • Average sector scores were below 50/100, indicating significant room for improvement across sectors.
  • Shockingly, there was one company in each sector that received a score of 0/100 indicating a concerning lack of action.
  • Apparel companies tend to be more advanced, while food & beverage companies are lagging behind.
  • This is reflective of the level of media attention and civil society pressure companies in each of the sectors have received.
  • Companies tend to be more advanced in developing supply chain commitments and monitoring the first labour performance of first-tier suppliers.
  • Companies are taking limited steps to address the exploitation of migrant workers by recruitment agencies. However, it is encouraging that a number of companies across sectors have joined the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment (thus committing to the “Employer Pays” Principle) and that some industry associations are starting to take action.
  • Two areas with limited progress are engagement with supply chain workers and providing remedy for workers whose rights are violated. These areas both lack attention from companies as well as from business and multi-stakeholder associations.


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