The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB)‘s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment were pleased to hold two regional roundtables on responsible recruitment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 20th March 2018 and in Bangkok, Thailand, on 22nd March 2018. The roundtables provided the opportunity for CGF members to pilot the Priority Industry Principles against forced labour, in a region identified as a key focus area in CGF’s resolution against forced labour.
These practical roundtables offered a rare opportunity for brands, suppliers and recruitment agencies to come together for constructive discussions on transitioning to an Employer Pays model for recruitment with the objective that No Worker Pays for a Job. During these sessions, participants were able to share their thoughts openly and identify the roadblocks faced, the implications, and opportunities in shifting to a new recruitment model: one which will benefit workers across the region and meet corporate objectives for ethical recruitment.
Each roundtable event was tailored to the local context, and included expert input and practical learnings from those directly engaged in various stages of the recruitment cycle. Many rich insights and ideas were gathered during the days’ events. Participants spoke about the need for qualification on what the recruitment costs are and the respective responsibilities of key actors. Further mapping of labour supply chains is vital to understand the different costs and leverage points for brands, suppliers and labour agencies alike.
The Social Sustainability team saw some encouraging examples of how the ethical recruitment industry is scaling up its efforts and gaining momentum, but recognised that a greater market demand for ethical recruitment is required to establish a business model where no worker paying for a job becomes the business norm. Participants were clearly aligned with the CGF’s stance on collaboration: we can only effect change when brands, suppliers, recruitment agencies and government work together to drive progress.
During the week, CGF and IHRB’s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment members also had the opportunity to engage in an insightful dialogue with both the Malaysian and Royal Thai Governments on responsible recruitment and collective solutions. The two days proved to be extremely valuable and the CGF and IHRB look forward to the next steps to drive business and governmental collective action on transitioning to an Employer Pays Model where “No Worker Pays for a Job”.