Home / HR/ Unilever tops list of food and drink firms tackling forced labour

Unilever tops list of food and drink firms tackling forced labour


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 5 October 2018 00:00


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever topped a list on Tuesday ranking how well food and drink companies tackle the risk of forced labour in their supply chains, ahead of Kellogg Company and Coca-Cola.

Most of the 38 companies assessed in a study by KnowTheChain, an online resource for business, had improved their practices since 2016.

But the average score was just 30 out of 100, the report said, suggesting all companies need to step up action to ensure ethical production.

“Forced labour remains a major problem in the production of popular food and beverage products,” Kilian Moote, project director for KnowTheChain said in a statement.

“Progress for workers is not moving fast enough. Companies across the board must do better to make demonstrable improvements for workers.”

About 25 million people globally were estimated to be trapped in forced labour in 2016, according to the International Labour Organization and rights group Walk Free Foundation.

From tea pickers on isolated estates to labourers on remote cocoa farms, agricultural workers tend to be harder to reach than those in factories, making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, said KnowTheChain.

Growing demand for fuel, food and raw materials is also pushing agricultural work into more remote rural areas, putting workers at greater risk, it added.

Agriculture production tends to involve seasonal or temporary work and much of it is quota based, leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation or wage theft, KnowTheChain said.

Although many of the 38 companies had policies and commitments relating to forced labour in place, it said the majority did not provide evidence of those policies in practice.

They appeared to be taking “little or no action” to listen to or empower workers across supply chains, the report added.

Unilever, whose 400 brands include Lipton tea, Magnum ice cream, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Colman’s mustard, retained its top spot since the first food and beverage report in 2016, scoring 69 out of 100, ahead of Kellogg at 66 and Coca-Cola 62.

Meat company WH Group, which owns the world’s largest pork business, and packaged foods company Almarai scored zero. Neither were immediately available for comment.

The report looked at areas including worker recruitment processes, efforts to source raw materials responsibly, monitoring and grievance mechanisms.

 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Buddhism, sustainability and Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Sustainability is fast becoming a very relevant and essential aspect of our lives. This has come about as a response to the high degree of consumerism that prevails in the world today, and the resulting overuse of fast-depleting natural resources, gi


The Hindu mess and N. Ram’s tweet on the raw (or RAW) matter

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A.S. Panneerselvan ran a story this morning in The Hindu (00.00am, 22 October) titled ‘Don’t blame the messenger,’ referring to the controversial front page report of the same newspaper five days ago by Meera Sirinivasan on ‘Sri Lankan Presid


Can humans and animals coexist in increasingly limited spaces?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Many wildlife species are close to extinction, or at least threatened, because of human impact. The usual strategies of co-existence are to confine more and more the habitat of wildlife to smaller reserves, parks or other fenced areas, to protect the


Reinvent yourself before reinventing your industry

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

For the last 19 years Interbrand has been carrying out its Best Global Brands report. This year, the theme of the study is ‘Activating Brave’, which examines the role that brand strength plays in the transformation of the world’s leading busi


Columnists More