On February 24th, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 which now officially prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor or child labor, closing an 86 year old loophole and reauthorizing the Customs and Border Protection Agency to seize any imports suspected of being produced by forced labor. The International Labor Organization estimates forced labor fuels $51 billion a year in profits in international trade and more than 14 million people worldwide work as a result of force, fraud or deception in homes, factories, mines, and farms.
In the process of developing a robust supply network across the globe, enterprises unwittingly leave behind a deep carbon footprint. Even companies that have gained some visibility to their supply chain and potential impacts are not always sure what to do next. A recent study published by CDP and Accenture (CDP & Accenture, 2014-15) reveals that policy guidance in the United States has helped equip only 50% of North American suppliers with climate risk management strategies for dealing with carbon emissions and other ecological challenges. This puts the country in the most vulnerable quadrant for climate-related risk mitigation.The good news is that a meaningful reduction in the carbon footprint of our global supply manufacturing and distribution/logistics networks is achievable and best practices are emerging. Green supply chain management (GSCM) is a proven set of strategies to control environmental impacts and risks to your global supply chain manufacturing and distribution processes. The benefits to business from developing a green and sustainable multi-enterprise supply network via GSCM techniques are numerous and compelling. They range from improved brand image, to reduced costs, to reduced operational risks.
What was your immediate reaction the last time you came across a news headline about unsafe working conditions or incidents of forced labor?
In a blog article I posted back on May 1, I rehashed John Oliver’s tirade on apparel industry supply chain practices. In a segment of his satirical HBO news commentary show “Last Week Tonight” that aired in May, he made a scathing indictment of the supply chain practices of the likes of H&M, Walmart, Nike, and the Gap. He essentially accused these brands of being negligent, or at best claiming to be clueless, about the exploitive and unsafe working conditions in places like India’s garment factories. I just came across a very interesting alternative view on this topic in a brief article in the July/August edition of Yale Alumni Magazine entitled “Sweatshops Opening the Door to Change” (Carole Bass, Yale College ’83; Yale Law ’97).
Did you catch John Oliver’s tirade on apparel industry supply chain practices? In a segment of his show that aired earlier this week, the case for supply chain risk management and visibility investments was made by an unlikely source. The popular TV program’s scathing indictment of the supply chain practices of the likes of H&M, Walmart, Nike and the Gap is, in and of itself, proof of the brand risk associated with complex globalized supply chains.