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#CloserThanYouThink: Why Consumer Goods Companies Are Calling for Urgent Action on Forced Labour for Human Rights Day 2022

#CloserThanYouThink: Why Consumer Goods Companies Are Calling for Urgent Action on Forced Labour for Human Rights Day 2022

Published 12-13-22

Submitted by The Consumer Goods Forum

"Forced labour is closer than you think."

#CloserThanYouThink: Why Consumer Goods Companies are Calling for Urgent Action on Forced Labour for Human Rights Day 2022

By Didier Bergeret, Director of Sustainability, The Consumer Goods Forum

Forced labour is everywhere – and it’s on the rise. Recent reports from the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimate 28 million people were in situations of forced labour in 2021, a 12 percent increase from 2016. The majority of these cases are found in the private sector, particularly in central operations of the consumer goods industry such as manufacturing and agriculture. 

This trend is unacceptable, and the way forward is clear: consumer goods companies must be key leaders in global efforts against forced labour in their own operations and supply chains.

To mark International Day of Human Rights, The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Human Rights Coalition – a CEO-led initiative of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers and retailers taking collective action against forced labour – is urging all businesses worldwide to take on this challenge and prioritise forced labour in their human rights due diligence. There’s no denying that forced labour is the most salient human rights impact in our industry. Without tackling forced labour, we won’t be able to ensure our workers are free from discrimination, violence, or other human rights abuses – driving systemic change and addressing root causes of injustice is key to creating sustainable supply chains.

infographic about forced labour

With our new campaign – #CloserThanYouThink – we seek to increase awareness of the prevalence of forced labour risks in the consumer goods industry, the value for businesses in taking action, and – importantly – offer practical solutions for how to effectively remedy actual and potential impacts.

I encourage businesses to use our #CloserThanYouThink video series to help raise awareness of what forced labour looks like, where it exists, and in which operations and tiers within the supply chain can workers be at a higher risk for forced labour.

While businesses have made progress in ensuring decent working conditions through operationalising due diligence, the ongoing impacts of migration, the COVID-19 pandemic, and conflicts are increasing forced labour globally. Businesses must therefore continue to improve their human rights due diligence to ensure no workers are at risk for this injustice.

On behalf of the HRC, I urge all businesses throughout the consumer goods industry to look closely at their operations and supply chains and use robust due diligence systems – like the ones developed by our Coalition – to effectively identify, prevent, and remedy forced labour risks. Forced labour truly is everywhere, and often, it’s #CloserThanYouThink.

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The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum ("CGF") is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more, please visit:

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Lee Green
Director, Communications
+33 1 82 00 95 70

Louise Chester
Communications Officer
+33 1 82 00 95 91

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