The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has today called on businesses around the world to play their part in the fight to end all forms of forced labour. Issued during the 2018 Global Forum on Responsible Business and Recruitment, the call to action was made alongside the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and with the support of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), and is a strong affirmation of CGF members’ commitment to strive to eradicate forced labour from global supply chains and continue not to tolerate forced labour within own operations.
The Global Forum on Responsible Business and Recruitment, co-hosted with IHRB, acted as the perfect platform to issue this call to action as key stakeholders gathered to discuss how best to galvanise efforts and drive real progress. The CGF has been working to help resolve this global problem since it launched its CEO-approved industry resolution on combatting forced labour in 2016.
It is now calling upon businesses to acknowledge the scale of the challenge and to accelerate action to eliminate forced labour, in alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and other international frameworks. While governments are responsible for protecting human rights including ensuring that national laws and regulations protect against forced labour; business has a responsibility to respect human rights in its value chains and own operations and can play a key role in combatting forced labour.
Ambassador William Lacy Swing, director general of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said: “More and more companies across sectors and industries are coming together to join the fight against forced labour and unethical recruitment, and to establish stronger protections for migrant workers in supply chains. The UN Migration Agency stands ready to support these efforts and to work in partnership to promote practical, measurable improvements in the lives of migrants around the world”.
Business leaders have the opportunity to eradicate forced labour through the global mainstreaming of the CGF’s Priority Industry Principles on Forced Labour, which state:
- every worker should have freedom of movement;
- no worker should pay for a job; and
- no worker should be indebted or coerced to work.
Businesses can also work toward the eradication of worker fees in the next ten years by implementing the Employer Pays Principle championed by the IHRB-led Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.
Grant Reid, CEO, Mars, Incorporated, said: “Two years ago, The Consumer Goods Forum issued our global resolution to fight forced labour. We remain steadfast in this commitment, and this is a call to action to accelerate the tangible steps we are taking as an industry, matching our commitment with concrete results and improvements in the lives of vulnerable people. We need to increase the pace of change on this critical issue.”
Making a stand together
Collaboration is crucial to accelerating action and driving positive change on this issue. The CGF call upon businesses to stand together in their commitment to combat the exploitation of human beings for the purposes of compulsory labour through the use of force or other forms of coercion, fraud or deception. Committing to work together with industry peers, and welcoming the efforts of institutions, organisations, and coalitions engaged in the fight against forced labour is vital. Businesses are asked to join forces with the ILO, IOM and IHRB, experts in the field of modern slavery, to put an end to these abhorrent crimes once and for all.
The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) today launched a set of Principles for the global hotel industry on forced labour and human trafficking to counter such practices in recruitment and employment globally. The ITP Principles on Forced Labour are derived from the CGF’s Priority Industry Principles and represent a solid example of cross-sectoral collaboration on this issue. The Board of the World Egg Organisation has also adopted the resolution on Forced Labour at their recent Business Conference in London in April.
Olaf Koch, chairman of the Management Board, METRO AG and Co-Chair of CGF Board, said: “Forced labour is a complex issue that cannot be solved without cross-sectoral collaboration. We, at METRO AG encourage you to rise to the challenge, and stand united with us in the global fight against forced labour. We thank the leaders from our industry and global partners, ILO and IOM, for joining us on this collective journey”.
This 2018 Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment and Employment, organised by the CGF and IHRB, and in partnership with Humanity United, was held 11th-12th June at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. This event comes just ahead of tomorrow’s official launch of the CGF’s Global Summit, held at the same venue. The Global Summit brings together more than 1,000 CEO and c-suite executives from the CGF membership.