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Crowdsourcing Supply Chain Social Responsibility

News + Events : Crowdsourcing Supply Chain Social Responsibility

04/25/2012

On March 28, Kohl Gill, founder of LaborVoices Inc., spoke to graduate business students at the SF State Downtown Campus about the crowdsourcing approach to ensuring social responsibility in supply chains.

LaborVoices is a company that collects anonymous feedback from factory workers worldwide regarding their treatment and working conditions. This feedback is then sent to the companies that do business with these factories as part of their supply chains. All reporting is done via an automated call in number, so any worker with a mobile phone can tell his or her story.

Kohl stated that there are more than 27 million slaves worldwide, comprised mainly of poor people tricked into indentured servitude by promises of high paying jobs and a better life. Fair working conditions for factory laborers has become a big issue for companies, brought to light by the recent worker suicides at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory, which produces chips for big names like Apple, Dell, HP, and many others.

Kohl noted that supply chain disruptions from worker riots and suicides, in addition to damaged brand integrity, can cause up to a 40 percent decrease in stock performance compared to competitors, so companies would do well to make sure their suppliers are following fair and legal labor practices.

Government inspectors monitoring for abusive work environments typically are slow to respond to worker complaints, can be bribed by unscrupulous factory owners, and are fed fake information from workers fearful of losing their jobs.

LaborVoices has a distinct advantage over these inspectors by giving all workers an instant and anonymous way of reporting abuses. In addition to benefiting laborers, this information is extremely valuable to the companies themselves, since they can avoid partnering with factories that have abusive working conditions, saving themselves the risk of bad PR and supply chain disruptions in the future. Thus, both the corporation and its supplier’s laborers benefit when  socially responsible working conditions are maintained.

Visit LaborVoice’s homepage to learn more.


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