Despite the declaration marking the prohibition of slavery since 1948, the UN International Labour Organization estimates that at any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people were in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage. This powerful video by the Guardian highlights the prevalence of this issue.
We acknowledge the risk of forced labour occurring in global supply chains. That is the reason we are working together with industry peers and multi stakeholders to bring about systemic change. We know that there is more we can do to strengthen our own process and oversight in this area.
We know that auditing our suppliers helps to bring accountability and deliver credibility to the supply chain by providing a verification point. And that it also helps us to understand the overall direction of improvement.
And we know that audits are not an end in themselves, providing only a snapshot in time, and work best as part of a broader approach to awareness, engagement, collaboration and remedy.
We are moving towards an approach that more closely integrates social sustainability and accountability. This includes identifying and addressing existing and emerging issues through impact assessments, capacity building and stronger engagement with workers.