Hewlett Packard Enterprise Among Founding Members of Coalition to Combat Foreign Migrant Worker Exploitation in the Supply ChainJuly 21, 2016
Across the globe, more than 150 million men and women have left their homes in search of higher wages, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations. Often, those workers—many of whom are low-skilled—are vulnerable to exploitation, including payments of high recruitment fees which can lead to forced labor and human trafficking. In an effort to protect foreign migrant workers in their global supply chain, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) became a founding member of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment (LGRR), a new collaboration between expert organizations and HPE, The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., IKEA and Unilever to fight exploitation and promote responsible recruitment by abolishing worker paid fees and driving other businesses to do the same.
"All workers should be treated with dignity and respect," says Cliff Henson, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Quality, with HPE. "When charged exploitative fees in exchange for a job, workers risk entering into a system of forced labor and bondage. By joining LGRR, HPE is sending a message of responsible recruitment, not only to our own industry and supply chain, but across all industries. We must work together and make a system-wide change."
HPE, along with the other four companies that make up LGRR, have committed to the Employer Pays Principle, which holds that employers bear the costs of recruitment, rather than allowing those fees to be passed on to workers. In addition, the group is working to create a roadmap for action, to ensure that companies have the tools to implement responsible recruitment practices in their operations and supply chains. LGRR is supported by a number of non-profit organizations focused on worker rights, including Institute for Human Rights and Business, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, International Organization for Migration and Verite. The organizations will work together to devise tools that will help others join the effort.
"Our goal is to mobilize a wave of change across all industries that employ foreign migrant workers. Together, we are launching a new era of responsible recruitment," says Henson.
HPE has long taken a stand against forced labor and human trafficking, and made protecting and elevating workers a priority. In 2014, the business made history when it became the first in the IT industry to require the direct employment of foreign migrant workers through its supply chain. The latest move in joining LGRR takes those values even further, says Leslie Collins, Global Manager for Supply Chain Responsibility with HPE. "This is just one more step in broadening and providing that level of protection to the worker," she says.
Collins adds that one of the goals of LGRR is to set the standard across a variety of sectors. "This is a way to go beyond IT industry advocacy," says Collins. "It's a collaborative effort to really move the dial on this topic."
There's also a business benefit, Collins adds. In addition to helping workers, responsible recruiting supports a company's bottom line. "Our suppliers find that once they implement these practices and policies they have a more stable, productive and satisfied workforce." she says.
With responsible recruitment, everyone wins.
To read more about the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, click here to read the article on SustainableBrands.com.