OECD Observer
Modern slavery

Interesting and up to date overview of all the initiatives taken in recent years to prevent modern slavery. It shows that voluntary initiatives by themselves are not enough to make fundamental changes (not for the first time). The linkage with subsidies and credit schemes, arbitration procedures and campaigns transparency obligations etc. makes these codes of conduct meaningful. 

It would be worth it to spend more time to develop a strategy for those companies and regions that are lagging behind. At some point, the companies that are at the front of these debates are as far as they can go in today’s competitive market. Maritime treaties have adopted the principle “no more favourable treatment for non-parties” and this principle could also be useful in the corporate social responsibility debate. There still is a bonus for not participating in the proposed schemes, especially those companies that have no direct relationship with consumers.

All the supply chain initiatives in the world will hardly make a difference if producers do not receive a good price for their products and if workers are not paid a living wage.

Sander van Bennekom, commenting on “Tackling modern slavery in global supply chains”, http://oecdinsights.org, March 2015 

©OECD Observer No 306, Q2 2016