China’s vision of engagement with the West has often meant turning a blind eye to inconvenient truths, and with Codes of Conduct still not effective in the challenge of eliminating using forced labour Uighur workers.

While singling this issue out may be the source of controversy, it is not necessarily required if we remember that it is important to stand firm on forced labour as a whole within supply chains, not just one minority group. If we focus on Forced labour as an aspect, we can ensure we identify and support victims of forced and or bonded labour out of a hopeless situation and into a future full of hope and fairness.

New legislation proposed by Canada, the UK, Australia, and the USA includes requiring modern slavery disclosure by companies, and the possible prohibition on importing goods produced using Uighur forced labour and penalties - While some companies in Australia are approaching this topic well, we are still significantly behind on the aspect of forced labour in our backyard - let alone within the tiers of our global supply chain.

More needs to be done to act and explore this aspect broadly across our supply chains, and the time is now to make a difference, as tomorrow is too late for those victimised by poor/negligent or criminal labour practices.

Check out our March edition of the Ethical Sourcing Forum Supply Chain Assurance Intelligence to learn more and discover the latest industry news on topics such as sustainability and labour issues.