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On 19th March 2021, the CGF Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour (HRC) and Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) held an informative session for HRC and SSCI members about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its new legislation which can prevent the import of consumer goods to the United States should there be any evidence they have been produced with forced labour. 

The session was mainly facilitated by HRC and SSCI member Brian White, Vice President of Compliance at The J.M. Smucker Company. (Executive Chairman of The J.M. Smucker Company, Richard Smucker, is Co-sponsor of the SSCI). White used the session as an opportunity to not only explain the details of the new CBP legislation, but to also explore the implications of such legal action for both CGF members and the consumer goods industry at large.

In the session, White explained why the work of the HRC and SSCI are both relevant to this new development: “The [HRC] Human Rights Due Diligence sets the framework for us to assess our business partners and then deploy it to deeper levels in the supply chain, which is the expectation of the CBP. And then, at the same time, the SSCI says what’s that standard – what’s that level of standards – because it’s not just a certification. … What we’re doing within the SSCI right now is to define this level and [understand] what is the expectation across the U.S. [The CBP’s] expectation is that we have either certifying agency or auditing committees or auditing companies that they want to see met.”

He continued: “They [the CBP] are going to be looking at the content — of how deep did you go into the supply chain world, of the elements that you were doing, and I think that’s right on par [with the work of the HRC and SSCI].”

Several CGF members joined the session, and the CGF thanks both White and the other CGF members for their time and interest.

“This session is just one example of the cross-Coalition efforts in knowledge-sharing and awareness-raising activities that CGF members can benefit from as members of the HRC and SSCI,” said CGF Sustainability Director Didier Bergeret, who oversees both the HRC and SSCI, as well as the Forest Positive Coalition. “We believe that the first step in developing any effective strategy for building and strengthening supply chain sustainability on a global scale is ensuring all actors are well-informed of realities and challenges. By being part of HRC and SSCI, we can then work hand-in-hand to shape our expectations as an industry amidst the ever-evolving regulations.

 
For more details about how CGF members are taking collective action to eradicate forced labour
from consumer goods supply chains and ensure supply chain sustainability, learn more about the
Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour and the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative.