Ending Child Labor: The Dirty Business of Cleaning Up Supply Chains

May 12, 2017

Made by Children. Instead of Made in China or Made in India, what if this was the label inside the neatly stacked sweaters on a department store shelf?

This opinion piece was written by GoodWeave CEO Nina Smith and first appeared in Huffington Post on June 10, 2016.

For most major brands, such a designation would be accurate. Despite companies making large investments to secure ethical supply chains, the International Labour Organization estimates that 168 million child laborers and 21 million forced laborers are still toiling in the global economy.

From 2011 to 2013, Fortune 500 companies spent almost $20 billion on corporate social responsibility (CSR), hiring consultants and engaging their own compliance, quality assurance, and monitoring teams.

While conditions have improved for some, workers at the bottom of the chain remain neglected, because most CSR efforts stop at the factory. Yet products we buy every day, like clothing, shoes and jewelry, involve an unregulated workforce in difficult-to-trace locations, including private homes. It is among these informal workers that labor abuse is the most prevalent and exploitative. Yet the millions of victims remain largely hidden.

Read rest of piece on Huffington Post