Supply Chains Tracing Project
The Supply Chains Tracing Project by ELEVATE seeks to increase downstream tracing of goods made by child labor and forced labor. The project is designed to address the barriers/challenges in supply chain traceability, and result in the development and sharing of open, accessible and replicable tools that can advance the knowledge base on supply chain tracing and scale the adoption of traceability solutions by various actors in different sectors.
Global estimates indicate that 152 million children are in child labor and 25 million adults and children are in forced labor worldwide. Many of these people, and the goods produced through their labor, are part of vast and complex global supply chains. Increasingly, governments, civil society, and consumers are seeking ways to hold companies accountable for exploitative labor conditions throughout their supply chains. Similarly, responsible companies are seeking ways to identify abusive labor practices within their complex global supply chains and to mitigate and remediate such abuses.
However, several factors make supply chain tracing challenging. While child labor and forced labor can occur at any stage in a company’s supply chain, research indicates that the risk of these exploitative labor practices is often greatest in upstream production activities, such as raw material extraction and agricultural production, which serve as inputs to other industries. Yet to date the scope of tracing and research in this area has mostly been restricted to first tier primary suppliers. As supply chains become more complex, tracking a vast number of suppliers to trace the origins of products, particularly the raw sources from upstream in the supply chain, remains a significant challenge. The fragmentation and global dispersion of supply chains across international borders may obstruct the visibility of certain suppliers, making some areas of a supply chain opaque.
The Supply Chains Tracing Project by ELEVATE works to increase the downstream tracing of goods made by child labor and forced labor. ELEVATE proposes to conduct pilot tracing in the cotton (Pakistan) and cobalt (Democratic Republic of the Congo) supply chains. In support of achieving the objective, the project will produce the following outputs:
- Output 1: Increasing the number of tested supply chain tracing methodologies
ELEVATE will produce a comprehensive report that documents the results of the tracing exercises, the methodologies developed, lessons learned, and recommendations for replicating the tracing exercises. The report will identify knowledge gaps, legal and/or enforcement gaps, and other challenges that posed constraints to supply chain tracing, and recommendations for addressing those challenges. For the traced goods, the report will include recommendations on using the identified leverage points to address child labor or forced labor in the supply chain.
- Output 2: Increasing the number of piloted tools for supply chain tracing
ELEVATE will develop and publish tools that will allow other stakeholders to replicate tracing of supply chains for other goods using the methodologies applied under Output 1. ELEVATE will describe the tools developed under this output, and how each tool will contribute to the knowledge base on supply chain tracing.
- Output 3: Increasing the dissemination of supply chain tracing tools and methodologies to a broad range of stakeholders
ELEVATE will develop a dissemination strategy during the course of the project. ELEVATE will also implement a communications plan that will promote awareness-raising on supply chain tracing methodologies and engage a broad range of stakeholders on best practices for conducting supply chain tracing.