Skoll Foundation



Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Dan Viederman
Award Year: 2007
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Sustainable Markets

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Dan Viederman has spent his career solving the problems of inequitable and unsustainable development that are by-products of the global economy. He first worked in rural China teaching children from the countryside who had battled astounding odds simply to be in the classroom. He spent the next 15 years working in Asia to establish the China offices for the World Wildlife Fund and Catholic Relief Services. Leading nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in a place growing as rapidly as China taught him that if the private sector was not provided with incentives to become more sustainable, civil society solutions would fall short and the world as a whole would suffer. 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 has successfully scaled geographically and across industry sectors and is poised to launch a broader replication strategy through the collaborative RAISE Institute.


  • Verité’s mission is to ensure that people worldwide work under safe, fair, and legal conditions. Verité’s programs leverage the power of multinationals to deliver positive change for vulnerable factory and farm workers in company supply chains.
  • A Sept. 2014 landmark study, covered in the New York Times, found concrete evidence of widespread forced labor among migrant workers in Malaysian electronics.
  • Verité’s partnership with several of the world’s largest retailers provides a platform for an impactful new approach to workplace human rights that will be implemented in more than 11,000 factories globally.
  • The organization’s partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, global NGOs, trade unions and governments reduce child labor and forced labor, eliminate unsafe working conditions, increase incomes for workers and decrease inequality and discrimination.
  • China’s first textbook on corporate responsibility with a focus on workers’ rights has been adopted by 5 provincial-level universities in China — with financial support and technical expertise from Verité. The network of users will expand in 2010.
  • In partnership with just a single leading brand, Verité’s social investigations helped return 3 million dollars to several hundred poor migrant workers in Asia who had been cheated by labor brokers.
  • Verité’s Fair Hire Initiative provides guidance and training for multinational companies and their suppliers to address labor brokerage risks in recruitment and hiring.
  • It works in a four-step process: Assess (current situation from broker-induced forced labor within your supply chain); Implement indicators (substantially reduce the risk of broker-induced slavery in your supply chains); Interact with labor brokers (directly and/or in coordination with supply chain contractors) and Address needs of victims (where illegal fees, owed wages or other abuses are found).
  • Verité was named  Schwab US Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Verité is a member of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, and with 20 of the largest companies in the world a Founding Circle member of the Sustainable Apparel.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.