Working with the private sector to map supply chains and strengthen due diligence
Led by consortium partners Fifty Eight and UN Global Compact Network UK (UNGC UK), this focus area will support the private sector to strengthen its supply chains to prevent the use of child labour.
Why supply chains?
The prevalence of modern-day slavery and child labour in global supply chains – most notoriously in the garment and extractive industries – is well documented. According to the latest global estimates, close to 73 million children work illegally in hazardous conditions, many in manufacturing products that are sold across the world. Mobile phones, clothes, make-up and food products are just some of the many consumer items that are implicated.
To ensure ethical and regulatory standards are met, companies employ ‘due diligence’ techniques to trace the origins of raw materials in their supply chains. Despite positive efforts from some of the world’s biggest brands, the traceability of these materials – especially at the lowest levels of typically complex international supply chains – presents a significant challenge.
This means that for many businesses it remains unclear whether or not children have been used to produce the materials required for their products. The same is true for many of their consumers.
How are we enabling change?
Initial ‘labour market assessments’ will be conducted in each country to identify how both local and global businesses can help provide pathways to safe and decent alternatives to the worst forms of child labour. The findings from these assessments will also inform how the private sector can best eliminate the worst forms of child labour within its operations and beyond.
PACE partner Fifty Eight will map the value chains of key commodities entering international markets: gold in the Central African Republic, sesame in Ethiopia, and tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold (also known as the “3TGs”) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The mapping will be conducted from the bottom-up, in contrast to today’s more standard practice of mapping supply chains from the top-down. This will make it easier to pinpoint where materials produced using child labour enter global markets, as well as provide new insights into how companies and organisations can prevent or reduce child labour and improve traceability.
UNGC UK will convene a series of business roundtables in the DRC and Ethiopia to build greater awareness of the worst forms of child labour and establish a forum to identify and share best practice for how to combat the scourge. Internationally, UNGC UK have launched a Child Labour Working Group, alongside a Private Sector Strategic Advisory Panel, to further identify best practice at a global level and to ensure the project benefits from existing expertise amongst some of the world’s largest companies.
PACE will share this learning and best practice from across all levels of the supply chain, and aims to generate evidence for a better model of due diligence which can be replicated by companies around the world.
What we hope to achieve
Through convening targeted companies, mapping identified supply chains, and examining best practice, PACE aims to develop new models for supply chain mapping and due diligence which can be used by companies around the world to eradicate child labour from their operations.
Other expected outcomes from this area of work include a greater understanding of demand-side issues (how customer attitudes towards child labour influence consumer choices, corporate decision making and social norms); greater knowledge of how informal economic activity – where child labour is most likely to be found – feeds into the regulated formal economy; and evidence of effective strategies to transition children out of work and into safe alternatives such as education or vocational training.
Explore our latest data and learnings for this Focus Area