The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of PASA.
Procurement must prioritise the eradication of Modern Slavery if it wants to command the continued attention and respect of the international community.
Many of our supply chains exploit impoverished workers, the result of the Developed World’s addiction to cheaply manufactured goods. These goods include clothing, confectionery, and mountains of packaging that ends up as toxic waste in landfill and in the ocean.
Modern Slavery is the entrapment of millions of people in wages so low they can barely feed themselves. In many families, children as young as four are forced to work or they will starve. 170 million children, in more than half the world’s countries, should be in school. Instead, they work long hard days with chemicals and dangerous machines.
There are many human sufferings which we cannot readily solve. But cleaning our supply chains is not an impossible challenge. In fact, it is the very issue our Procurement skills have evolved to accomplish. Our suppliers are looking to us for leadership, for ideas, for alternatives, for expert guidance. No one wants Modern Slavery.
In 2021, as a Procurement Community, we need to reflect on our strategic priorities. Are we going to move Modern Slavery to the front of our agenda and help our governments and suppliers eradicate this problem?