SAN leads new project to improve risk assessments and detection of forced labour in agricultural supply chains


The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is leading a project to develop a new methodology and an improved assessment of vulnerability and detection of forced labour in agricultural supply chains that can be implemented by standard systems and wider organizations.

With decades of experience in agriculture, SAN knows that abusive working conditions, including forced labour, are often hidden and they are hard to track. While many standard systems have incorporated ILO agreements and conventions to address labour issues, the scale of the problem does not appear to be matched by the rates of identification of non-compliance with labour standards.

SAN and some certification systems had been discussing whether this could indicate that farms applying for certification are some of the best performers, but also likely that detection needs to be improved. Standard systems use, almost exclusively, audits to monitor compliance and there is a need to explore how to improve existing methods and develop new ones to better identify and detect forced labour.

In this context, the project, funded by the ISEAL Innovation Fund, aims to improve the assessment and detection of forced labour in agricultural supply chains by designing a methodology to better use existing knowledge and information, and collect and integrate new data. It is expected to lead to a more nuanced and effective way of targeting local assessments and detection efforts on higher risk locations.

The project also compiles initial information on locally appropriate and victim-centered considerations for remediating forced labour when detected, and aims to support standards systems and organizations in better understanding their role in developing effective remediation strategies.

With the support of SAN members (FIIT), SAN Technical partners (IMO and Africert), ISEAL, UTZ and Ergon Associates, appropriate research and pilots will be conducted in three key countries to collect valuable information from different contexts: Guatemala, India and Kenya. The project will end in October 2018. For more information read our brochure.

Nancy De Lemos