Forced labor in supply chains is a pressing issue across industries. Nelufar Hedayat, Correspondent for the Doha Debates, asked the panelists to articulate why it matters. Ambassador John Cotton Richmond, Partner at Dentons, explained that it is a matter of human dignity and international law. Kimberly Randle, CEO at FairSupply, echoed the legal requirements around forced labor prohibitions. Heather Fischer, Senior Advisor for Human Rights Crimes at Thomson Reuters Special Services (TRSS), noted that if doing the right thing is not enough, we should consider the national security issue.
The panelists explained why they had been personally drawn to the issue. Richmond explained that this is a solvable crisis, not like a natural disaster. Randle noted that she believes in the responsibility of speaking up for those who cannot. Fischer cited her family history of humanitarian work. Looking toward results, Hedayat asked what failure or success on this issue might look like. Fischer named an inability to get out of our silos as a potential for failure, while Richmond said that the status quo of continual exploitation would be a failure. Randle suggested that companies need to use data to make better business decisions. They have to address the risk across the organization, not only in policies and operational procedures.
“It doesn’t cost that much more to pay a fair wage to the worker.”
Heather Fischer, Senior Advisor, Human Rights Crimes, Thomson Reuters Special Services (TRSS)
“This problem is difficult to solve. The people affected are hard to detect, see, and notice.”
Nelufar Hedayat, Correspondent, Doha Debates
“What we’re going to see is the intersectionality of the E and S of ESG and how co-related they are.”
Kimberly Randle, Chief Executive Officer, FairSupply
“The reality is there’s forced labor in most of the products we use every day.”
Ambassador John Cotton Richmond, Partner, Dentons