Slavery and forced labor are considered human rights crimes, yet generate $150 Billion in illegal profits in our global economy, making it our market failure. Today, over 24 million people are trapped in forced labor, making our everyday items from our coffee, phones, clothing, cosmetics and food, to the many services we use like tourism, car washes and nail salons. The good news is that we are seeing more people become aware of worker abuse in our supply chains, and the public is beginning to demand better practices from companies.
Companies are constantly assessing consumer behavior so that their products and services remain in demand while increasing profits. When consumers discover that companies are mistreating workers that help make their product or services, they want to buy something else. People always ask us “what do I buy?”. Answering what you can buy to support people around the world is central to our work. We use this aspect of the supply and demand dynamic to empower consumers to use their voice and their purchasing power to drive change.
We believe both are critical to ensuring exploitation does not continue as a standard practice in global supply chains.
The spirit of TISC is to enable us as consumers to purchase products that are competitively socially responsible. In order to do that more effectively, we work towards increasing the impact of Transparency laws so that we can measure how companies treat workers and give you an easy assessment of what product is lethal, harmful, good, better or best.
If we can rank companies on their human rights performance then the one that is the most socially responsible has a profitable market advantage over the company that does nothing. And companies that do nothing make themselves vulnerable to other anti-slavery and labor abuse laws. Their goods could be stopped for instance from being imported into a country because by doing nothing they increase the likelihood of forced labor.
That’s why we believe In the power of the consumer.
In order for consumers to be able to make easy and quick decisions, the human rights movement needs to organize the data from transparency disclosure reports into rankings and ratings. Those rankings and ratings come from disclosures that are legal transparency requirements. In order for transparency disclosure requirements to really measure the relationship between business and human rights for workers there needs to be an iterative and innovative response keeping disclosure information relevant, credible and agnostic.
Current and future transparency laws need to adjust in accordance with business response, oversight bodies and government responses to meet transparency, anti-slavery and sustainability goals. To that end, we support improved transparency legislation.
A great deal of work needs to be done involving all stakeholders to improve business response to existing TISC legislation, and use those insights to improve future legislation.
Founder & President, ASSET Campaign