- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) launches 5-year project between coalition of retailer and manufacturer members of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Projects focus on eradicating forced labour from companies’ own operations and companies’ palm oil supply chains in Malaysia, and on creating enabling environment for responsible recruitment in Southeast Asia labour migration corridors
PARIS, 23rd June 2021 – The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour (HRC) is pleased to announce today it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This milestone commences a five-year technical collaboration that will help HRC members advance in their objective to help achieve fair and decent working conditions worldwide by driving individual and collective action in their businesses and supply chains to eradicate forced labour.
FLA and IOM, the United Nations agency for migration, will bring their technical knowledge, regional expertise, and experience engaging with stakeholders across sectors to the HRC, a CEO-led initiative of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. This new collaboration builds upon the CGF’s previous work with both organisations; in 2018, the FLA published a report on human rights in the palm oil sector for the CGF, and in the same year the CGF partnered with IOM to host regional events and dialogues on responsible recruitment.
The new project starts just after the HRC achieved a major milestone in publishing its Maturity Journey Framework for the Implementation of Forced Labour-focused HRDD Systems in HRC Members’ Own Operations, the product of a year-long collaboration between HRC member companies and inspired by AIM-Progress’ Responsible Sourcing Journey. FLA will assist HRC members reach their first objective to achieve 100 percent human rights due diligence (HRDD) coverage in their own operations by 2025 as defined in the Framework. FLA will aid HRC members reach the third and final level of maturity as outlined in the Framework by helping to develop individual action plans, tracking progress, and communicating about actions and lessons learned.
Both FLA and IOM will assist HRC members with their second objective of working with select palm oil suppliers in Malaysia to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains; collectively, the three organisations will roll-out and implement the HRC Palm Oil Roadmap and forced labour-focused HRDD systems through an action-integrated approach with an aim to foster fair working conditions among workers, especially migrant workers, within the palm oil sector.
Finally, the HRC will work with IOM to promote the advancement of responsible recruitment markets across the Indonesia-Malaysia and India-Malaysia labour migration corridors by providing technical guidance on responsible recruitment for selected private recruitment agencies, suppliers and workers through various capacity-building programmes and workshops. This will be reinforced through multilateral governmental engagement in the region to advance the development of responsible recruitment markets, and tackle core drivers of forced labour.
Didier Bergeret, Director, Sustainability, The Consumer Goods Forum, said, “Collective action is the only way we will be able to push the global needle away from forced labour and towards responsible recruitment and employment. With our new Coalitions of Action, we are accelerating and aligning our members’ existing efforts to drive real change at scale together with expert organisations on the ground. After a year of collaboration to develop our HRDD Framework, with the support of FLA and IOM, I am confident our members will be able to implement meaningful actions in their businesses and supply chains and together use their collective voice to lead the discussion as we work to bring an end to forced labour.”
Sharon Waxman, CEO and President, Fair Labor Association, said, “As an organisation which already worked very closely with the CGF, we are pleased to announce this opportunity to continue our engagement. Our collaboration comes at the most crucial juncture where human rights due diligence is increasingly becoming the norm in business practices. By working together and using existing tools we can learn to identify, prevent, and address the most pressing issues in supply chains. We look forward to tackling this learning journey together with HRC member companies, their suppliers, workers and other stakeholders. I have every expectation that this five-year collaboration can be a source of knowledge, inspiration and a model for other sectors to bring social sustainability actions to scale.”
Welcoming the MoU, Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific said, “Engagement and leadership from businesses is a critical element in helping transform international supply chains from those that exploit migrant workers to those that empower them. Joint collaboration with a uniquely positioned inter-governmental organisation such as IOM also signals a strong willingness for a public-private advocacy to promote ethical recruitment and fair working conditions among workers globally. We are looking forward to working closely with the members of the Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour to help advance this goal in two critical geographies where the power of consumer goods companies can be truly leveraged for positive change.”
About the Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour
The CGF Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour (HRC) is a CEO-led Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum. As an initiative of 22 of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, the HRC is committed to helping achieve fair and decent working conditions worldwide by eradicating forced labour from its supply chains. The work of the HRC continues the CGF’s long history of engagement on the issue of forced labour within consumer goods supply chains by building on the CGF’s Social Resolution on Forced Labour, the first of its kind in the industry; its Priority Industry Principles, and ongoing relationships with key stakeholders in the industry. For more information about the HRC, visit www.tcgfsocial.com.
About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 55 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.
About the International Organization for Migration
Established in 1951, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. IOM is part of the United Nations system, as a related organization. IOM supports migrants across the world, developing effective responses to the shifting dynamics of migration and, as such, is a key source of advice on migration policy and practice. The organization works in emergency situations, developing the resilience of all people on the move, and particularly those in situations of vulnerability, as well as building capacity within governments to manage all forms and impacts of mobility. IOM currently has 174 Member States and a further 8 states holding Observer status.
About the Fair Labor Association
The Fair Labor Association promotes and protects workers’ rights and improves workplace conditions by facilitating collaboration among businesses, civil society organizations, and colleges and universities. The FLA, established in 1999, conducts independent monitoring to ensure that rigorous labor standards are upheld wherever its affiliates source their products, identifies the root causes of labor violations and proposes solutions to workplace problems. For more information, visit www.fairlabor.org.