Consumer Goods Forum Tackles Forced Labor, Unethical Recruitment

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The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is calling on businesses around the world to step up their efforts to eliminate forced labor from their supply chains and remedy unethical recruitment of workers.

At this year’s Global Forum on Responsible Business and Recruitment, CGF issued a call to action alongside the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business. The forum brought together key stakeholders from the around the world to discuss how to drive meaningful change in the private sector on forced labor.

CGF says actions to remedy this problem should be based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It notes that while governments are ultimately responsible for enforcing laws, businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights in their value chains.

Retail Times reports that CGF has developed three key principles:

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.”

Olaf Koch, chairman of the Management Board, METRO AG and Co-Chair of CGF Board, added that “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 year’s 2018 Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment and Employment was organized by the CGF and IHRB in partnership with Humanity United. It was held 11-12 June at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

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