AIM-Progress and Embode partner to implement the Ganapati Project: an innovative approach to supplier engagement and capability building


AIM-Progress with 9 brand member companies including Unilever, Nestlé, The Hershey Company, Reckitt, Mars, The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are partnering with Embode to implement the Ganapati [1] Project, an innovative approach to improve the implementation of responsible recruitment standards and practices by suppliers in Thailand and Malaysia.


There is a consistent need to address human rights and forced labour risks to migrant workers in global supply chains, particularly how migrant workers are recruited and their experience once they have left their home country for their host country. According to the 2023 Global Slavery Index [2], Asia and the Pacific has the largest number of people living in modern slavery (29.3 million).With the adoption of new legislation on mandatory corporate due diligence, such as the EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, requirements are being extended to supply chain actors globally including Thailand and Malaysia, often leaving those companies unsure how to fully comply and align their businesses operations with expected standards and practices.


To address this gap AIM-Progress members have partnered with Embode, an Asia-based human rights consultancy to businesses, NGOs, UN and other agencies specialising in business and human rights and organisational analysis, ethical recruitment and labour protection.


The Ganapati Project approach is practical, collaborative and consultative providing individually guided capability building for businesses that will have direct and immediate impact on migrant workers in Thailand and Malaysia. It is an innovative approach that places expert advice on responsible recruitment in the hands of supplier companies to AIM-Progress members. This approach moves beyond the traditional approach of handing companies standards or corrective action plans based on audits and is more like a partnership that takes into account a company’s unique challenges to integrating good practice into their business operations.


To support a dialogue focused on engagement with suppliers, Embode developed a comprehensive responsible recruitment framework that was designed specifically for the Thai and Malaysian context. It is aimed at providing a benchmark for supplier companies to identify their alignment with responsible and ethical recruitment practices.

The project is broken into 3 phases:

·        Phase 1 Assessment-based Responsible Recruitment Framework: The framework is designed to support reaching ethical and responsible practices in an iterative and sustainable manner that is informed by supplier companies' challenges and barriers to meeting accepted standards. The framework by which companies are assessed covers up to 10 thematic areas such as, but not limited to, contracting standards, recruitment fees and costs, post-arrival orientation, grievance mechanisms and remediation, and freedom of movement.

·        Phase 2 Collaboratively Agreed Action Plans (CAAPs): After a supplier company has undergone an assessment conducted by Embode, CAAPs are designed in consultation with the company. These are strategically focused on areas which will deliver the highest impact on migrant workers within the company. CAAPs are built around practical steps the company will take to make progress on their responsible recruitment journey.

·        Phase 3 CAAP Implementation: Once a CAAP is adopted, the company implements their tailored plan. During this phase, Embode provides expert support to the company through targeted training, one-to-one consultation, advising on implementation of responsible and ethical practices and/or development and input on policy development and implementation.


At the conclusion of the one-to-one engagement phase, an assessment is redeployed to identify the areas where improvements have been made or are in progress. Further recommendations are then provided to the supplier so that momentum created during their involvement in the project continues. As a learning organisaton, Embode, alongside AIM-Progress, will assess lessons learned to identify how the initiative can continue to support the responsible recruitment targets that suppliers are undertaking.


AIM-Progress with the support of Embode are looking forward to working alongside suppliers and seeing positive tangible and measurable progress towards responsible and ethical recruitment standards in Malaysia and Thailand–ultimately improving the lives and working environment of migrant workers.


For more information please contact:

Aarti Kapoor, Managing Director, Embode: aarti@embode.co

Yael Fattal Lariccia, Global Project Manager, AIM-Progress: yael.fattal@aim.be 


About Embode: Embode is an international human rights consulting agency with on the ground expertise in the areas of business & human rights, social sustainability and social protection with further specialisation in issues of responsible and ethical recruitment, forced labour, migrant labour, child labour, trafficking and exploitation. Embode brings extensive experience assessing supply chains, consulting supply chain actors, workers and farmers (across agricultural and manufacturing tiers) and developing tailored solutions for supply chain actors.


About AIM-Progress: AIM-Progress is a global initiative of leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturers and suppliers joining forces to drive positive change in their supply chains and promote responsible sourcing practices and sustainable production systems. AIM-Progress works in a pre-competitive environment with more than 45 members from diverse set of brands and suppliers linked through the commonality of their supply chains. Its mission is to positively impact people’s lives and ensure respect for human rights, while delivering value to members and their supply chains. This is done across four areas: the human rights priorities and respective working groups, the regional hubs, mutual recognition work stream to create synergies in approaches, and the capability building work stream to equip the members with knowledge and ability to execute strong responsible sourcing programmes.
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[1] Ganapati is the name of the popular elephant-headed deity, much revered across the Asian region. Originating in Indian mythology, Ganapati represents new beginnings and the remover of obstacles. This auspicious symbol captures the hopes and dreams of workers as they venture to faraway lands on a mission to better their lives.


[2] Global Slavery Index  

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