On February 1st 2018, Social Sustainability Manager Nadia Bunce facilitated a breakout session at the Responsible Business Alliance’s (RBA) “Supply Chain Forced Labour Training and Roundtables” event in Penang, Malaysia. The event brought together suppliers, recruitment agencies and brands to discuss responsible recruitment and issues surrounding forced labour.

The afternoon breakout focused on 5 topics: Fees, Barriers, Business Models, Role Dynamics and Incentives, the latter facilitated by Nadia. During the breakout session, participants were asked to discuss the main factors that incentivise companies at all stages of the supply chain to implement ethical recruitment and employment standards. The groups identified the following factors as the most relevant: human rights, brand improvement (i.e. in order to attract more workers) and operational stability and sustainability of the workforce. They went on to discuss ideas about how the industry could incentivise its different players to move towards a more responsible recruitment model. Feedback focused upon greater governmental incentives; greater support for recruitment agencies on how to ensure worker retention; empowering workers to better understand their contracts; and improved due diligence processes to engender greater trust between labour chain partners.

The gathering of recruitment agencies, brands and retailers at events of this type is extremely valuable as it enables transparent sharing and understanding of the different perspectives of key players within the recruitment continuum. It also allows us to gain insight into the operational and practical factors involved in moving to a responsible recruitment model where no worker pays for a job. Through participating in events like this, we can work to ensure that key players in our industry move forward together to addressing the core drivers of forced labour.

The CGF is looking forward to continuing the discussion on responsible recruitment at the first Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment and Employment which we will hold alongside the Institute for Human Rights and Business’s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, in Singapore on the 11th & 12th June 2018. This Global Forum will build on the recent responsible recruitment roundtable events held in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur at the end of March, where the RBA joined us to present and discuss practical solutions on how to scale up responsible recruitment with both suppliers and recruitment agencies.