Transparency over supply chains is key to addressing labour exploitation, establishing responsibility for abuses and delivering justice to the victims.
The supply chains of many producsts commonly for sale in supermarkets are often long, complex and shrouded in secrecy. Poor transparency in supply chains and lack of information on producers are a barrier to improving working conditions and strenghtening the protection of human rights.
Supply chains are at times also the site of illegal, unlawful and corrupt behaviours, all of which are detrimental also to the wider society. Strategies to manage the risks in the supply chains all depend on transparency.
- Transparency is important for the consumers. Consumers have the right to know if there are well-founded allegations that human rights have been violated in the production of the products that they are considering to buy. Nobody wants to buy products made by forced labour, for example.
- Transparency is important so that stakeholder groups can conduct monitoring of working conditions and bring to the companies and authorities' attention possible problems including suspected cases of labour exploitation, forced labour or human trafficking.
- Transparency in global supply chains can also help authorities to address organised crime and illicit trade.
Disclosure requirements to companies to make supplier information public should be made stricter. Governments should make it mandatory for companies to report on risks associated with their suppliers, subcontractors and partners in joint ventures, and the human rights due diligence processes carried out in relation to these risks.
Customs information about imports, including names of companies involved and the ultimate destination and recipient, should be made available to public through searchable databases or at least upon request when there are reasons to suspect that goods produced in exploitative conditions are being imported to the EU.