Economic Opportunity, Peace and Human Rights, Sustainable Markets
Human Rights; Livelihoods; Responsible Supply Chains; Standards
Globally, workers often suffer from unhealthy, exploitive working conditions and have no leverage to effect change in global supply chains.
The social entrepreneur: Dan Viederman has spent his career solving the problems of inequitable and unsustainable development. He worked in rural China teaching children who had overcome great odds simply to be in a classroom. He helped establish China offices for the World Wildlife Fund and Catholic Relief Services. Through this work he realized that the private business sector would not take steps to become more just and sustainable in response to efforts by, civil society. There needed to be real incentives. Dan came to Verité in 2001 inspired by its potential to improve workplace conditions globally, and he has led the organization beyond its factory audit roots. Under Dan’s leadership, Verité expanded its impact geographically and across industry sectors, working to prevent human trafficking by leveraging the power of multinational companies. Its model engages factory workers a four-step process of assessment to determine whether there is forced labor in the corporate supply chain; monitoring indicators to reduce the risk of doing business with suppliers using forced labor; interaction with labor brokers; and addressing needs of victims. Through rigorous research, tracking, story-telling and consultative expertise, Verité engages trade unions, NGOs, governments, consumers, and companies tied to more than 11,000 factories around the world in understanding and combating labor abuse. Its initiatives include labor rights and trafficking, raw materials, policy, civil society, and gender. At the time of the Award, was active in 60 countries and had conducted thousands of audits benefiting more than 400,000 workers.
“Globalization must benefit everyone, especially those at the bottom of the supply chain whose labor subsidizes the world’s standard of living.”
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2007:
- China’s first textbook on corporate responsibility – with a focus on worker rights – was adopted by five provincial level universities.
- In partnership with one leading brand, Verité’s social investigations helped return $3 million to several hundred migrant workers who had been cheated by labor brokers.
- Verité’s partnership with Apple has led to Apple requiring its subcontractors to refund workers who pay more than a month’s wage to a labor recruiter. Refunds have totaled more than $13 million.
- Verité’s 2013 publication “Corruption and Labor Trafficking in Global Supply Chains”, offers a calculated overview and assessment of high risk regions.
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