1. Improving Codes of Conduct and Company Policies

The establishment of high-level corporate policies or code-of-conduct language on forced labor, human trafficking and the vulnerabilities of migrant workers is a critical first step in addressing these risks in your brand’s supply chain. If such language already exists in your code, it should be evaluated to ensure that it addresses all risk issues. In Verité’s experience, most codes fall short.

To be effective, policies need to be comprehensive. They should apply throughout company operations and across the supply chain, including to first-tier suppliers, sub-contractors and labor recruiters. They should be supported by concrete and measurable benchmarks that can help the brand better assess its own supply chain performance and impact.

Once drafted, the new policy or code should be integrated into existing and new business contracts, as a basis for ensuring compliance and establishing social audits and assessments. The new policy can also form the basis of brand and supply chain communications, awareness raising and training efforts.

Developing the policy can:

  • Help you address these risks in a comprehensive, systematic and proactive way through your supply chain;
  • Send a positive signal to investors, consumers and public policy actors about your commitment to address such abuse; and
  • Further promote supply chain efforts to mitigate risks to brand value and company reputation. The tools and links provided in the sidebar will help get you started.

The tools and links provided in the sidebar will help get you started. They offer practical guidance on strengthening brand codes. They can be used to revise or create new supply chain policies that will effectively address the risks of trafficking and forced labor that result from the use of labor recruiters.

These policies, however, are just the first step. Consult other sections of this Fair Hiring Toolkit to learn how you can translate policy into practice.