INVESTORS COMMEND HP FOR SETTING A HIGH BAR TO ELIMINATE FORCED LABOR IN ITS GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN
New Standard Requiring Direct Employment of Foreign Migrant Workers Includes Provisions to Eliminate Document Retention and Worker-Paid Recruitment Fees Linked to Exploitative Labor Practices and Forced Labor
NEW YORK, NY, Tuesday, November 11, 2014–Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility<http://www.iccr.org/>(ICCR) today welcomed HP’s announcement that it has added a Foreign Migrant Standard to its Supply Chain Responsibility program as reinforcement against the risk of exploitative labor practices among migrant workers. The standard, developed in consultation with Verite, imposes a framework for the outsourcing of foreign migrant laborers that includes specific stipulations for its suppliers intended to safeguard against trafficking and forced labor risks with these populations.
“HP has taken a significant leadership position by implementing a standard that confronts the risk of forced labor in their supply chain head on,” said Rev. David Schilling, Senior Program Director of ICCR. “By requiring its suppliers to hire migrant workers directly and prohibiting the payment of fees by workers to obtain employment, unscrupulous labor brokers will become marginalized. ICCR applauds HP and will use its policy as a ‘best practice’ model as we engage other electronics companies and other sectors to implement these critical human rights policies.”
Last January, ICCR launched its “No Fees” initiative<http://www.iccr.org/no-fees-initiative> with a primary focus on unethical recruitment practices in the agri/aquicultural sectors where migrant workers are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Suppliers in these sectors often source workers through unscrupulous labor brokers who charge exorbitant recruitment fees, change contract terms and impose unreasonable deductions from promised wages leading to debt/bonded labor conditions akin to slavery. These laborers are especially vulnerable to human rights abuses including extreme violence.
Said Valentina Gurney, Associate Program Director leading the “No Fees” initiative, “By setting a high standard to confront forced labor and, more specifically,the exploitation of migrant workers by labor brokers, HP rightfully recognizes and addresses one of the biggest problems global companies with extended supply chains face today. What is especially important is HP’s new extended implementation and monitoring policy that targets unethical recruitment practices and eliminates the fees to obtain employment which often leave workers exploited and in debt bondage.
According to the HP press statement: To ensure implementation of this standard, HP will complement its existing SCR program with specialized forced labor audits and regular monitoring. Suppliers that do not meet the standard will be required to correct their practices with urgency and may be subject to internal HP escalations, remediation programs and risk discontinuation of business with HP.
Observed Gurney, “HP has set an appropriately high bar for its suppliers in the IT sector. When other companies and other sectors follow suit we can expect much needed positive changes for the world’s most vulnerable workforce; foreign migrant workers.”
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):
Currently celebrating its 44th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world. Visit our website at www.iccr.org<http://www.iccr.org/>.