Advancing ethical supply chains: combating forced labour

In the pursuit of ethical supply chains, the European Shippers Council (ESC) recognises the critical need to bolster due diligence processes to combat forced labour. Continuous improvement in these procedures is very important, signifying a commitment to vigilance and adaptability. It’s fundamental to acknowledge the shared responsibility of smaller entities in conducting risk assessments, aligning with the ESC’s dedication to eradicating forced labour across all sectors.

Furthermore, ESC acknowledges the recent adoption of the Council’s negotiating mandate on the regulation prohibiting products made with forced labour on the EU market. This mandate clarifies the regulation’s scope, includes products offered for distance sales, and reinforces the role of the Commission in investigating and proving the use of forced labour. Such measures align with international standards and EU legislation.

Additionally, the proposal from the Commission prohibits products made with forced labour from being placed or made available on the Union market or exported from the Union to third countries. It emphasises the importance of assessing forced labour risks based on various sources of information and initiating investigations when reasonable indications arise.

While SMEs are not exempted from the regulation, considerations are made based on their size and economic resources. The proposal also includes specific support tools to assist SMEs in complying with the regulation. Moreover, the creation of a Union Network against Forced Labour Products aims to ensure better coordination between competent authorities and the Commission.

In conclusion, by advancing ethical supply chains through rigorous due diligence, collaboration, and robust regulatory frameworks, European Shippers Council aims to effectively inform its members and combat forced labour and uphold human rights standards within Europe and beyond.