- Major food and beverage manufacturers should be doing more to reduce the risk of forced labor throughout their supply chains, according to benchmarks and rankings of 20 companies from KnowTheChain.
- With seven measurements in consideration, these manufacturers' average score was 30 out of a possible 100 in full supply chain traceability, with a few leading brands receiving much higher rankings than the rest.
- The highest scores came from Unilever (65), Coca-Cola (58), Nestle (57) and PepsiCo (45). Tyson Foods (13), Kraft Heinz (9), Fomento Economico Mexicano (FEMSA) (7) and Monster Beverage (0) received the lowest scores.
KnowTheChain confirms that none of the 20 companies studied have achieved full supply chain traceability, though 17 of the 20 have partial traceability protocols in place.
The food and beverage industries are more susceptible than others to forced labor risks because of the nature of manufacturers' global and agricultural-based supply chains. If a company isn't vigilant, it may not realize a supplier for one of its ingredients halfway around the world employs forced or child labor.
These labor issues aren't just happening abroad, either. Even in the U.S., an estimated 5% of agricultural workers may be in a forced labor scenario, according to KnowTheChain.
The government has passed certain regulations to attempt to resolve this issue, but manufacturers have to take more direct action themselves to expose any forced labor along their supply chain. That could mean inspecting suppliers' operations, directly recruiting supply chain workers, working with reputable recruiting agencies or more closely monitoring the labor and wage laws in the country or region in which suppliers reside.