Spotlight on SGS Services: Transparency in the Food Supply Chain
Transparency-One, in partnership with SGS, lets companies at the end of a supply line access business data along their entire supply chain.
Modern slavery is at the forefront of global supply chain risk management. UNICEF estimates that 150 million children are involved in child labor, and countless more adults are forced into debt bondage, forced marriage, domestic servitude and forced labor. With legislation passed in the USA, the UK and the EU, and with other countries, such as Canada, also tackling the modern slavery issue, authorities are increasingly seeking to place responsibility for the working conditions of those engaged along the supply chain at the door of the companies that ultimately benefit from their labors.
High demand for cheap products means that companies take advantage of the economic benefits that can be accrued from a global supply chain. The problem is, businesses at the end of a long supply chain may have no interaction with operators in the early stages of the supply chain. This is particularly true in the food industry, where western consumers increasingly demand access to dishes and products from around the world. For example, Thailand, which is the third largest exporter of seafood in the world, has been accused of crewing fishing boats with Burmese and Cambodian men who have been sold and forced to work as slaves. Many victims say they were tricked by brokers who promised them factory jobs, and then put them on fishing boats where they were forced to work.
Transparency-One, in partnership with SGS, gives companies at the end of a supply line access to data relating to businesses along their complete supply chain. The open business-to-business network allows operators to collect product, ingredient and facility information declared online by suppliers and their own suppliers. This means that those at the end of a food supply line can be assured that all businesses along the chain are compliant with minimum standards in food safety and labor demanded by the destination country or by those at the end of a food supply chain. The approach works because it is the end user who instigates the supply chain mapping. Once a chain has been created, each company can examine all the facilities they have been given access to and make sure they are compliant with recognized social auditing and certification schemes. The system will also detect non-audited or non-certified suppliers, alerting the company to a potential business risk and triggering remediation plans. It can also help a company to reduce the possibility of food fraud, unsafe food practices and forced labor appearing in their supply chain.