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19 October 2016

Unilever recognised for action on supply chain slavery

Content team

Unilever, the British-Dutch consumer goods group, has been recognised for the action it has taken to tackle slavery in its supply chain.

The company featured at the top of the latest food and beverage industry benchmark report from campaign group Know the Chain, achieving an overall score of 65 out of 100. Coca-Cola (58/100) was second, followed by Nestle (57/100) and PepsiCo (45/100).

Overall scores were based on evaluations across seven different categories: traceability and risk assessment, purchasing practices, recruitment, commitment and governance, worker voice, monitoring and remedies.

Referring to the top three performers, Know the Chain said: "These companies have taken steps in each of the seven areas assessed, including on aspects such as recruitment practices and worker voice (i.e. empowering workers and ensuring their voices are heard), two areas which only few companies address."

While 17 of the 20 businesses scored lower than 50 out of 100, the report authors acknowledged that most firms had shown "a growing commitment to addressing forced labour and have taken initial steps such as starting to trace parts of their supply chain and putting in place audit and corrective action processes for their first-tier suppliers".

This was reflected in the fact that the average score in the commitment and governance category was 54 out of 100, the highest of any segment.

One area where there is clear scope for improvement is in recruitment, where the average score for the 20 companies was just ten out of 100. Know the Chain said this was a concern, given the food and beverage industry's reliance on agricultural workers.

Specific findings showed that none of the businesses in the study required direct employment of supply chain workers and only two required their suppliers to audit recruiters.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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