HUMAN RIGHTS CASE STUDIES
The issue of modern slavery and inhumane labour standards pervades all industries and geographies, manifesting through forms of abuse such as discrimination, inadequate working conditions and restricted employment rights. There are many parallels that can be drawn from the due diligence of non-medical organisations that can be used to inform ethical procurement systems within the medical sector. Gaining insight into alternative methods of conducting due diligence will ultimately serve to strengthen industry-wide best practice and curtail the incidence of human rights abuse within global supply chains. The below case studies demonstrate best practice from industry and wider business.
Hewlett-Packard have driven industry-wide efforts to promote sustainable and ethical sourcing. The success of their due diligence has resulted from their timely and effective responses to discoveries of human rights abuse. By focusing resources on communities most at risk, HP have developed due diligence that is more impactful. They have however stressed that individual efforts by a select few companies will not drive meaningful change within the electronics industry; rather, across-the-board collaboration is required for elimination of modern slavery and human rights abuse.
Primark has refocused its corporate social responsibility in response to the deadly Rana Plaza tragedy, implementing key ethical initiatives to ensure supplier compliance with ethical standards and increased transparency surrounding employment practices. Human rights PR scandals have had a lasting impact on consumer perception of the Primark brand, illustrating the necessity of acting preemptively to mitigate latent risks within the supply chain. Primark’s prioritisation of worker rights through the reformation of their auditing process and application of meaningful due diligence has been largely successful in addressing supply chain human rights abuses, particularly where workers have been personally engaged to provide authentic testimony about working conditions. Primark has contributed significant resources to promoting sustainable sourcing, in a wider attempt to destigmatise the consumer notion that ‘fast fashion’ perpetuates unethical practices, and to make amends for historically poor labour practices.