What’s the problem?

Global supply chains are complex and concealed, so unsurprisingly unethical behaviour within them is common.

Modern day slavery within supply chains is at an appalling level unprecedented in history.

This is the worst form of unethical behaviour within supply chains. The United Nations puts global totals at 21m, with 5m in the sex trade and 9m migrating for work, within their own countries or across borders.

Around half are in India, working in brick kilns, quarries or clothing production. Bonded labour is common in China, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Thailand’s seafood industry. Recent investigations found 25% of workers in Malaysia’s electronics industry in forced labour.

Developed countries are not immune. Modern slavery blights almost every country on earth. In 2015, plaintiffs in the largest human-trafficking case in America were awarded $14m in damages. Read more here.

Supply chain issues highlighted in recent years have seen many companies


auditing their global operations and working environments. Independent, audited certifications addressing human rights and environmental production factors are now recognised by consumers. Global leaders are raising the issue; protocols and laws are being passed and industries and multinationals are forced by consumers to address these issues.

Consumers today are better educated about overseas working conditions and environmental issues, so information about unfair worker treatment and unsustainable practices can seriously harm sales and brand identity.

Change takes time and action. As consumers, we can take actions that help end modern day slavery and unethical behaviour in global supply chains.

As our world gets smaller through globalisation, we’re able to discover more about the people who make products we consume, and to share that information easily, so that we can change our world for the better.