Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Empowering Ethical Supply Chains: Collaborative Solutions for Human Rights in Business


On the verge of the final approval of the Corporate Sustainability Directive by the European Union, stakeholders from businesses, civil society organizations (CSOs), and policymakers convened in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the forthcoming steps in combating forced labor. Organized jointly by The Consumer Goods Forum's (CGF) Human Rights Coalition, the Malaysian Ministry of Plantations and Commodities, and My Voice, the Symposium aimed to evaluate advancements in responsible recruitment and chart a path forward within the rapidly changing regulatory landscape.
Held at St. Giles Boulevard Hotel, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, the event attracted more than 60 organizations, spanning Malaysian enterprises, civil society groups, government officials, and international brands and retailers. Participants from diverse sectors recognized the necessity of integrating human rights due diligence into business operations.
As voluntary commitments transition into mandatory regulations, businesses committed to social and environmental responsibility emerge as pivotal players in fostering resilient economies while upholding workers' rights and supporting sustainable enterprises. Confronted with the intricate task of addressing social challenges within supply chains, all stakeholders are urged to contribute to expediting and scaling up initiatives to tackle systemic issues.
Throughout the proceedings, representatives from Malaysia's Ministry of Human Resources, Immigration, and Labor Departments shared updates on governmental efforts to safeguard migrant workers, constituting 70 percent of the sector's workforce. Emphasis was placed on Malaysia's endeavors to enforce stringent laws, enhance monitoring and compliance mechanisms, and fortify worker protections through new legislation and certification frameworks.
Didier Bergeret, Director of Sustainability at The Consumer Goods Forum, underscored the imperative of fair remuneration, decent working conditions, and the eradication of forced labor for responsible businesses. He stressed the urgency of proactive measures in light of impending regulations like the EU's Corporate Sustainability Directive, positioning Malaysia to lead by example in ethical labor practices.
The symposium underscored the importance of collaborative efforts with international entities, businesses, workers, unions, civil society, and partner nations to embrace evolving standards in human rights and environmental due diligence. Ongoing initiatives such as the CGF's People Positive Palm Project (P3 Project), aimed at eliminating forced labor from Malaysia's palm oil industry through collective action, were lauded as examples of effective collaboration. The necessity of sustained engagement and cooperation to drive enduring change was emphasized throughout the discussions.
Representatives from business, civil society, and labor also exchanged insights and suggestions. Speakers emphasized the critical role of ongoing and transparent communication with workers as the primary avenue for identifying and implementing lasting solutions to human rights challenges in supply chains. Recognizing the human aspect of due diligence as indispensable, especially amidst regulatory shifts, both businesses and governments received praise for their efforts to enact policy changes and ensure their execution, always in consultation with rights holders.
The event concluded with a rallying call for collaboration among businesses, government entities, and civil society to collectively strive for ethical labor standards and the protection of human rights throughout supply chains.
Didier Bergeret reiterated, "We stand at a crucial juncture in promoting responsible recruitment practices within our sector. With increased global focus on equitable labor and employment standards, it's imperative for us to come together to devise strategies that not only adhere to regulations but reinforce our dedication to workers' rights. Given the intricate nature of today's supply chains, which often span multiple countries and continents, businesses must closely collaborate with governments and NGOs to effect urgent change. We extend our gratitude to the Malaysian Government for their continued partnership as we endeavor to do more and reach further."
The CGF's Human Rights Coalition stands as the foremost alliance of retailers and manufacturers committed to safeguarding human rights throughout international supply chains. Aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, businesses bear a significant responsibility in addressing and preventing adverse human rights impacts across their operations. Through collaboration with policymakers, NGOs, and experts, the Human Rights Coalition works towards the implementation of robust Human Rights Due Diligence globally.