Slavery Footprint

How many slaves work for you?  Alright…are you sure the number is accurate?  Hmm.  What if it turns out that we contribute to the slave trade, not only by physically keeping slaves, but by doing other things such as purchasing certain kinds of consumer goods [from certain, disreputable brands]?  Think about where everything you purchase and consume comes from.  That long process, from raw material to ‘finished goods’ is called the Supply Chain.  Well, it turns out that all along that supply chain men, women and children the world over are being used as slave labor so that the companies further up the chain can cut costs and undermine competition.   Do you purchase products from companies who are willing to allow slave labor in order to stay ahead of the competition?  What is their position?

Slavery Footprint isn’t about calling out specific organizations or brands, but it will give you an idea, based on your consumer habits, of how many slaves work for you indirectly.  And, although they don’t say it, the reason this system persists is because too few companies are taking the initiative to look down the supply chain and make changes where slavery comes into the picture.  This tacit consent of slavery is, unfortunately, pervasive.  Think of your favorite brand right now.  If you go to their website is it fairly easy to locate their Privacy Policy or their About page?  Ok, now what about a position statement concerning Slavery?  Do they have one?  Let’s pose the question another way.  Is it plausible to suggest that any competent organization not have a solid handle on each link in its supply chain?  Of course, any respectable organization would know where its raw materials come from and who assembles the parts or packages the food and what the working conditions are…because that would be good business, and the socially responsible thing to do.

I suggest a simple experiment.  If your favorite brand or organization doesn’t have a position statement on Slavery head over to the Contact page and submit the following inquiry.

“Hello, I’m concerned about the proliferation of slavery in the production of food and consumer goods.  Since your company does not have an official position on the subject I’d like to know what your policy is on Slavery in the Supply Chain.  What does your company do to ensure that no slaves are part of your supply chain?  Thank You.”

Then, wait and see how long it takes them to reply and what they say.  This should give a good indication about how serious the organization is really in eliminating slavery from their products and their brand.

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this!

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