AIM-PROGRESS - Program for responsible sourcing
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AIM-PROGRESS Newsletter – Q4 2016 - Issue #2

REVIEW OF MEMBER MEETING IN BANGKOK 5-7 OCTOBER

December 19, 10:44 AM

Bangkok was the location of the October AIM-PROGRESS member meeting, in combination with a supplier training event with focus on Thai supply chain issues, such as migrant/forced labour or discrimination.

 

Highlights from the member meeting included presentations by WWF (Advisory Board member to AIM-PROGRESS) on the difficulties of sustainable palm oil sourcing and how brands are and should be engaging, as well as a passionate account of ISSARA Institute’s collaborative work with companies to mitigate untenable working conditions in Thai supply chains for migrant workers.

 

AIM-PROGRESS work streams reported on achievements to support the overall strategy, including the release of the Responsible Sourcing Journey – a new roadmap for companies to guide them towards robust responsible sourcing programs.  Further progress has been made by the Human Rights work stream on supporting the CGF on its resolutions to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains.

 

The Bangkok supplier event on 5 October was co-hosted by6 member companies of AIM-PROGRESS and gathered 360+ suppliers (representing 150 companies) to help them define their own steps in implementing responsible sourcing in Thailand.

 

Whilst the morning session provided a rationale for why responsible sourcing is part of doing business with brands, the afternoon was an opportunity for a practical deep dive into four high priority issues:

·         Forced and migrant labour, which has been very much in the news in the Thai fishing industry lately. About half of Thailand’s 3.25 million foreign workers have an irregular status and are therefore particularly prone to labour exploitation, already starting at recruitment, depriving them of freedom of movement and withholding payment.

·         Overtime working hours, which lead to absenteeism, accidents at work, high workforce turnover, with recommendations on how to reduce occurrence.

·         Grievance mechanisms: 54% of companies in the conference said they still rely on the anonymity of suggestion boxes, which are not necessarily the most effective way of addressing grievances.

·         Discrimination,where it occurs, the legal context and how to remedy incidences of discrimination.

 

In workshops, run with the help of audit house SGS, participants could discuss in more detail the problems which are plaguing supply chains in the Thai labour market, and to identify their own relevant actions.

 

David Lawrence, Executive Director of AIM-PROGRESS, expressed his appreciation of seeing “so many suppliers to major brands eager to engage and find collaborative solutions to these issues”.

 

AIM-PROGRESS organizes regular supplier events across the globe in markets where member companies see a need for addressing responsible sourcing. The Bangkok event was co-hosted by ABF, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, PepsiCo, SC Johnson and Unilever.

 

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