about the event


Innovation in Human Rights and Responsible Sourcing


This three-day multi-stakeholder forum convened leaders and innovators in the field of responsible sourcing to critically analyze current practices and models to address labour exploitation and human trafficking in global supply chains.  The Forum aimed to build consensus around the most promising and proven approaches that should be promoted, encouraged, and invested in over the next several years.  There were three focus areas for the 2017 Forum:

  1. Day 1: New policies and partnerships in ethical sourcing

  2. Day 2: Ethical sourcing technology solutions including worker voice tools that are having an impact on the ground

  3. Day 3: Ethical recruitment in global supply chains: practical challenges, solutions, and lessons learned


Through these tracks, the forum facilitated exchange and learning on cutting edge good practice and innovation in human rights and responsible sourcing worldwide, including the critical on-the-ground perspective that is sometimes lacking in global events of this nature. Attendees learned, discussed, exchanged, and analyzed emerging best practices and developments in ethical sourcing, and networked with key players including supply chain and responsible sourcing business leaders, labour rights and human trafficking experts, due diligence technology innovators, migrant worker service providers, and NGOs. 


There are more than 20 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, many toiling in farms, factories, mines, and production facilities tied to global trade. A majority live in south and southeast Asia, working in the supply chains of corporations that provide goods and services to consumers and businesses all over the world.


Ensuring an ethical supply chain is complicated, but possible – now more so than ever before.  For the past three years, Issara Institute has worked intensively with migrant workers, Asian suppliers, multi-national businesses, technology developers, and local responders to demonstrate that good supply chain management practices leading to real, measurable reductions in forced labour and human trafficking are possible.  In addition, our peers throughout the global South are achieving success through multi-stakeholder initiatives to ensure that supply chains become opportunities for vulnerable workers, and not reasons for continued exploitation.


Much progress has been made, but much more remains to be done - as we discussed and analyzed at the Forum.  

Who attended:

  • Procurement, sourcing, supplier management and legal divisions of multinational corporations

  • Suppliers who seek strategies to implement and demonstrate good labor practices

  • Worker rights advocates and community based service providers

  • Trafficking survivors

  • Government representatives responsible for labor affairs and programs

  • Academic experts and researchers

  • Technologists and enterprises offering supplier management and due diligence services

  • Development donors and investors


The Global Forum advanced best in class strategies with proven outcomes in human rights and responsible sourcing, and facilitated:

  • Increased understanding of multi-stakeholder initiatives that benefit business supply chains and worker communities

  • A unique perspective on strategies that are proven to work in high risk communities

  • Increased connections between stakeholders operating in different regions of the world to share knowledge and expertise

  • Replicable and scalable ethical sourcing solutions

  • KPIs that most meaningfully measure and evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to address labour exploitation risks in supply chains