Do you know that there are around 40.3 million victims of modern slavery in the world, 24.9 million of them are reportedly engaged in forced labour, including 16 million individuals working in the private sector?
Given that the majority of the 160 million children who are forced into child labour worldwide reside in Africa is a serious concern.
The Covid-19 pandemic is the world global crisis since the second world war that forced the global workforce to exploitation at a large scale. Companies have a fundamental responsibility to enhance working conditions for the labour community, and adhering to government legislation aimed at improving labour welfare is a surefire method to increase output and profitability. Let us delve into the unhealthy practices that workers are subjected to and how ‘traceability’ can act as a critical driver to boost transparency on unfair wages.
Modern slavery and human rights violations
Around the world, a sizable number of men, women, and children are subjected to forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. It is a serious criminal offence to extract services from a worker much against his/her will for little to no remuneration. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 highlights slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour’ and ‘human trafficking as serious offenses that raise the bar on violation of human rights. The UN effort states that the pillars of sustainability are human rights, fair labour, environmental preservation, and anti-corruption; therefore it makes sense that they would define traceability to address these issues. To counteract the vulnerabilities that can lead to forced labour and human trafficking or that can cause families to put their children to work as survival strategies, an appropriate standard of living, including social safety floors, is required.
Exploitation of workers and child labour
Maximising profit and productivity may be the governing principle that guides corporates to impose workers into exploitation, bonded labour, and modern slavery. Child labour is visible in cocoa-growing areas and parts of the fishing and mining industry. There is broad agreement that corporations should address child labour using responsible business practises and due diligence using a comprehensive strategy. A combined and concerted effort should arise on the part of governments, NGO’s and companies to improve the lives of children and the underlying reason which forces parents to send their children for such laborious work. Children are deprived of their youth and made to undertake inhumane jobs, a stark reality that must be addressed as soon as possible. Guidelines are issued for companies who ought to undertake an ethical responsibility towards farmers and workers and failure to do so can incur potential hurdles in the business operation.
Supply chain mapping as the key driver of social change
The supply chain industry is an interconnected network of producers, suppliers and retailers, including information on entities, inventories and resources. Tracking the supply chain at various levels, from provenance to an end-consumer level, brings the role of traceability into action. A distributed ledger system called blockchain can track the origin of raw materials, the manufacturing process, and even end-user purchases. The role of the supply chain is integral in tracking sustainable practices in labour and ecological balance that truly influences business models. The business practices adopted by companies reflect the corporate social responsibility that companies follow and throw light on the dynamics of labour exploitation at various levels.
Blockchain Traceability Technology is a new strategy to combat forced labour, modern slavery, child labour, low wages, or human trafficking. It helps to ensure that the supply chain is fair, sustainable and transparent. It guarantees that the workers receive fair compensation for their labour and enjoy enduring working circumstances. The government and business enterprises play an essential role in addressing such issues that lead to human rights violations and freedom.
CIED Group provides a blockchain-integrated traceability tool that showcases the product journey from farm to fork where sustainability claims can be adequately verified and we can gain an insight into the supply chain mapping. The details of all actors in the supply chain are recorded and the remuneration granted to them is stored in the blockchain, which is tamper-proof.
Our non-profit project, Right Origins, is where we built and controlled the entire supply chain from farm to fork to create the world’s first talking chocolate. We were able to share 80% of profits with farmers, which contributed to 5x more income for farmers. This bears testimony to the fact that awarding fair prices and fair ownership to farmers can alleviate their suffering and reduce poverty. Our blockchain-integrated traceability tool, Right Origins, can help restore a healthy working environment for farmers and guarantee economic upliftment for them.
Transparency paves the way towards best practices in labour welfare and compliance:
Blockchain integrated traceability technology enables us to trace every action in the supply chain, such as logging in suppliers and farmers with the corresponding details regarding remuneration given to them. It has been implemented by some companies to fight modern slavery, child labour and unsustainable working conditions. The transparency that blockchain offers make it easier for companies to comply with sustainability standards such as ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) compliance. This is because it provides an accurate account of a company’s supply chain. The traceability also makes it easier for companies to pay fair wages for labour as they can see how much each person is being paid in real-time. The various claims regarding sustainability standards and their making can be validated through certifications or authorised data.
Every purchase has a story and today onwards, think about how your choice of products impacts the world. It’s your responsibility to understand where goods originate from and what effect they have on people and the environment. Nobody should be subject to trafficking or coerced to work under duress, threat, or penalty. Non profit organisations like Fairfood are working towards ensuring sustainable sourcing standards and welfare of workers. We are privileged to associate with them in achieving the goal of responsible sourcing through traceability. This fundamental right is protected by international law and is reflected in the majority of national legislation that applies to investors and businesses. CIED strives to achieve compliance by evoking technological passion with a purpose through Traceability Software.