SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITYFIGHTING FORCED LABOUR

Our members have been long committed to promoting decent working conditions worldwide but recognise that the eradication of forced labour remains a key challenge. We are, therefore, now working with our members to drive global collaboration between retailers and manufacturers and thereby address forced labour as one of the most pressing social issues of our time. This commitment was confirmed with the January 2016 announcement of a new, Board-approved Social Resolution on Forced Labour.

CGF Social Sustainability - Forced Labour - ILO

A Message From Our Board

“As part of our wider efforts to promote human rights and decent working conditions worldwide, we acknowledge the broad societal problem of modern slavery and we strive to eradicate forced labour from our value chains. As part of our wider efforts to promote decent working conditions worldwide we will harness the power of collective action as an industry group to identify and address issues and geographies of shared concern, enhancing the efficiency of any individual company initiatives in this area”.
 

 
 

The Full Social Resolution

“As the Board of The Consumer Goods Forum, we recognise our role as responsible businesses to respect and promote human rights and decent working conditions worldwide, in alignment with ongoing efforts such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other international frameworks including the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the recently launched United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  

As part of our wider efforts to promote human rights and decent working conditions worldwide, we acknowledge the broad societal problem of modern slavery and we strive to eradicate forced labour from our value chains. We will also continue not to tolerate forced labour within our own operations.  

To do so, we will harness the power of collective action as an industry group to identify and address issues and geographies of shared concern, enhancing the efficiency of any individual company initiatives in this area.  

In areas of shared concern, we will jointly develop specific action plans supporting the eradication of forced labour, in alignment with the widely embraced guidance provided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.  

To achieve this ambitious goal, we will work closely with other industries, with governments and with civil society”. 

Download Resolution

The Consumer Goods Forum Social Sustainability One-Pager Download the full Social Sustainability Resolution and relevant information on our work in this area in a single one-pager that’s easy to share with both internal and external stakeholders. This is a great way to have the exact resolution's text at your fingertips.

 

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Join the Fight

Success for our industry can only be achieved if we stand together. It will require collaborative actions on a global scale, so join your peers who are already working to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains. Members interested in collaborating on the issue are welcome to join our member-led working groups.

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Creating a Platform for Success

To help ensure implementation across our wider membership, we will harness the power of collective action as an industry group to identify and address issues and geographies of shared concern, enhancing the efficiency of any individual company initiatives in this area. In areas of shared concern, we will jointly develop specific action plans supporting the eradication of forced labour, in alignment with the widely embraced guidance provided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

To achieve this ambitious goal, we will work closely with other industries, with governments and with civil society. We recognise that progress will require meaningful advances in enforcement of relevant national laws, international frameworks and increased support for and protection of victims and vulnerable populations. Going forward, and beginning in 2016, our members will collaborate in advancing the following workstreams: 
 
A framework enabling industry engagement: 
  • Tackling specific issues and geographic areas of shared concern;
  • Taking collective, cross-sector action to prevent and address violations; and
  • Increasing harmonisation of industry supply chain standards and systems. 
A cross-cutting approach that drives implementation: 
  • Internally and externally voicing support for the Resolution and raising awareness; 
  • Engaging within our industry, across sectors and with communities and institutional bodies; and 
  • Sharing learning and best practice to progress on our commitment.

Pillar Steering Group

The Social Sustainability Committee is co-chaired by Mike Barry, Marks and Spencer, and Jeff Seabright, Unilever. The Committee has the mission of ensuring the Resolution adopts a tailored approach, and will target a set of key issues in selected geographies and commodities in order to achieve concrete change.

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Social Announcement

Our Social Resolution was announced on 14th January 2016. It highlights our Board's commitment to the ambitious, new resolution to fight forced labour issues throughout global supply chains and launches a rallying call to the industry.

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The CGF & the SDGs

Our portfolio of programmes currently covers 10 of the UN's Sustainable Developments Goals, with Goal 8 being of specific relevance to our work on Social Sustainability. 

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The GSCP Approach

It is crucial to build on existing industry initiatives to amplify innovations in supply chain sustainability. The work achieved by our Global Social Compliance Programme and other efforts to support increased harmonisation of supply chain practices will be instrumental in driving this necessary change.

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Defining Forced Labour

The International Labour Organisation defines forced labour as situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities. This includes forced child labour, forced migrant labour and human trafficking.

Recognising Our Industry's Role

Today, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour, 90% in the private economy. Estimates show that illicit revenues from forced labour stand at $150 billion annually, making it the most profitable global crime. Our industry is at risk, because of its complex, disaggregated global supply chains that rely on low-skilled labour. Forced labour can be found in sectors such as food and beverage, agriculture, manufacturing, and many sub-segments of fast moving consumer goods. They often involve some of the poorest countries in the world with limited institutional capacity for regulation to protect worker’s rights. 10 countries account for 71% of those in forced labour; however, all countries and sectors are affected globally.

The Social Resolution engages our members as responsible businesses, to strive to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains and to continue not to tolerate forced labour within their own operations. Our members recognise that upholding and advancing fundamental human rights is critical to addressing the root causes of forced labour. To this effect, the Resolution builds upon the widely embraced guidance provided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and other international frameworks including the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the recently launched United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
 

Taking the Collective Approach

Working closely with governments, civil society and on the ground initiatives will be intrinsic to the success of our collective action on forced labour, and on effective steps to prevent, mitigate and remediate human rights impacts.
 
Through individual approaches and initiatives such as the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP), our members have a long track record of promoting decent working conditions worldwide. Challenges such as forced labour, however, require to strengthen these existing efforts through focused collective action. Through the CGF's global influence, leadership position and convening power, we are uniquely positioned to have a positive impact, by engaging the industry alongside relevant institutions and stakeholders.