Human Rights - Supply Chain Standards and Ethical Recruitment
Six resolutions ask about ethical recruitment practices in company supply chains and two more concern domestic prison labor connections.
Mercy Investments and the American Baptist Church filed similar resolutions at Amazon.com and Motorola Solutions. The proposal asks for a report from each about “ethical recruitment policy and remedial efforts taken to ensure that [the company’s] global supply chains are free of forced or bonded labor, including any efforts to reimburse workers for recruitment fees that were paid in violation of the Company’s policies.” At Amazon it asked for details on the company’s “approach to assessing and implementing” the policy, while at Motorola, it requests an annual report.
At Hershey and Williams-Sonoma, the request is shorter, simply asking for a report by December “disclosing its due diligence efforts to ensure responsible recruitment within its operations and supply chain.” A similar proposal at Dean Foods is the same except it leaves out reference to the supply chain.
For Bed Bath & Beyond and McDonald’s, the proposal asks for a new policy. At Bed Bath, that it
adopt a Human Rights Risk Assessment based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including a section on ethical recruitment and issue a report, at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information, detailing its approach to assessing and implementing its ethical recruitment policy and remedial efforts taken to ensure that its global supply chains are free of forced or bonded labor by December 2018.
At McDonald’s, it says the company should “adopt a Human Rights Policy based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including a section on ethical recruitment,” and report by November. The UN Principles on Business and Human Rights, are also known as the “Ruggie Principles” after Harvard professor John Ruggie who led the effort to articulate the approach.
Withdrawal and SEC action—Mercy has withdrawn at Amazon.com after it agreed to discuss the issue further. Hershey is contending at the SEC that it concerns ordinary business and is moot, while McDonald’s says it is too vague. The SEC has yet to respond.
Domestic prison labor:
Investors gave 4.8 percent support to a Costco Wholesale request that it “adopt a policy committing the Company to: a) Survey all suppliers to identify sources of prison labor in the Company’s supply chain; b) Develop and apply additional criteria or guidelines for suppliers regarding the use of prison labor; and c) Report to shareholders no later than June 30, 2018.…”
A similar proposal is pending at TJX which is arguing at the SEC that it is moot, given a change in its policy after the proposal was filed. The SEC has yet to respond.
(One more proposal on trafficking in the supply chain is discussed in Risk Assessment.)