The UFLPA (Forced Labor Prevention Act) here in the U.S. has come into force this week and companies are struggling to figure out how to comply with the act and not go crazy (or broke!) in the process. As a supply chain assurance provider, our phone is certainly ringing off the hook from customers who, if anything, just need a little therapy session to talk through what they are doing, what else they could be doing and dying to know what others are doing. I assure them everyone appears to be equally panicked and learning as they go. Given it is related to forced labor, it is often ending up in the hands of social compliance practitioners within companies with legal in tow. However, social compliance programs will not help here as this is really about chain of custody for raw material origins and less about people. The concept of traceability is often outside the scope of knowledge of social compliance managers and your typical social auditor. Luckily for Intertek we do have experience with traceability related to sustainability claims, food safety, product certifications, etc. So, we are busy transferring this knowledge in a way that will help our customers gather the chain of custody verifications required as evidence in case of a detention. To be honest with you, it will not be an easy road to get the information you need as more often than not, our reviews do end up in a black hole of “business secrets”. With any new change in supply chains, it will take a collective effort and patience for mindsets to shift to this new paradigm of transparency, and we will continue to innovate and re-design our approach to accommodate. If you are in the need for an UFLPA therapy session yourself, please feel free to reach out to me for a chat. I don't charge by the hour.
A sweeping new law aimed at cracking down on Chinese forced labor could have significant — and unanticipated — ramifications for American companies and consumers.