6
WRAP-UP

At the end of the workshop, the committee members were each invited to give their own thoughts as to what broad themes they heard during the workshop. Susan Berkowitz began by offering her summary of the main points raised over the course of the two-day discussion:

  • Context. The role of context (e.g., role of government, trade and economic policies) and its effect on businesses’ ability to influence the situation is important. Dr. Berkowitz noted that the context is never going to be the same, so this variance results in differing abilities of businesses to addresses concerns in specific situations. Some things are going to be more amenable to change than others and it is important to have an assessment of the situation.

  • Logic Model. Dr. Berkowitz noted that the discussion focused in part on what it would mean to examine assumptions and have a logic model and a set of expectations about why certain outcomes would follow from certain activities.

  • Partnerships. A strategic approach to partnering depending on the setting and the context should be considered, including focusing on multistakeholder efforts and trying to piggyback on other efforts. She noted that the discussion highlighted businesses’ thinking about who could be partners, engaging with them, obtaining buy-in, and recognizing that some potential partners might not be amenable to solving the problem. Partnering seemed to Dr. Berkowitz to be an important element of the discussion.

  • Incentives. Many participants had raised the importance of incorporating incentives, both positive and negative, into practices.

  • Scalability. Clarifying the notion of scalability, specifically whether one should view scalability as a form of replicability or as a different set of issues. An important issue was to examine how more focused or limited practices might scale up to the national level and to what extent they would work as they got larger.

  • Data Collection. Having some kind of data collection that has an assessment or an evaluative component to it as part of a process of both the documenting and assessing practices.

  • Knowledge Sharing. Once practices have been assessed, it is important that knowledge of both what has worked (good practices) and what has not worked be disseminated to those working in this area so that they can benefit from the experiences of others, avoid “reinventing the wheel,” and avoid practices that do not work.



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6 WRAP-UP At the end of the workshop, the committee members were each invited to give their own thoughts as to what broad themes they heard during the workshop. Susan Berkowitz began by offering her summary of the main points raised over the course of the two-day discussion: • Context. The role of context (e.g., role of government, trade and economic policies) and its effect on businesses’ ability to influence the situation is important. Dr. Berkowitz noted that the context is never going to be the same, so this variance results in differing abilities of businesses to addresses concerns in specific situations. Some things are going to be more amenable to change than others and it is important to have an assessment of the situation. • Logic Model. Dr. Berkowitz noted that the discussion focused in part on what it would mean to examine assumptions and have a logic model and a set of expectations about why certain outcomes would follow from certain activities. • Partnerships. A strategic approach to partnering depending on the setting and the context should be considered, including focusing on multistakeholder efforts and trying to piggyback on other efforts. She noted that the discussion highlighted businesses’ thinking about who could be partners, engaging with them, obtaining buy-in, and recognizing that some potential partners might not be amenable to solving the problem. Partnering seemed to Dr. Berkowitz to be an important element of the discussion. • Incentives. Many participants had raised the importance of incorporating incentives, both positive and negative, into practices. • Scalability. Clarifying the notion of scalability, specifically whether one should view scalability as a form of replicability or as a different set of issues. An important issue was to examine how more focused or limited practices might scale up to the national level and to what extent they would work as they got larger. • Data Collection. Having some kind of data collection that has an assessment or an evaluative component to it as part of a process of both the documenting and assessing practices. • Knowledge Sharing. Once practices have been assessed, it is important that knowledge of both what has worked (good practices) and what has not worked be disseminated to those working in this area so that they can benefit from the experiences of others, avoid “reinventing the wheel,” and avoid practices that do not work. 65

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66 REDUCING THE USE OF FORCED OR CHILD LABOR Beryl Levinger also noted the importance of context. She noted that many talks at the workshop focused a lot of attention on this and she felt that one could distill a preliminary framework for contextualization. According to Dr. Levinger, “Contextualization in any criteria has to be closely linked to the environment in which the labor issues occur. This environment includes supply chain characteristics and the degree of government support for labor regulations and enforcement; government capacity to deal with labor issues; the size and scope of the sector; the composition of the sector; the role, engagement, and involvement of industry in the sector; and the role of families and communities in the sector. Without a fairly comprehensive understanding it is difficult to propose criteria that are contextually relevant.” A second comment from Dr. Levinger had to do with the underlying assumptions. Whatever criteria are ultimately developed should reveal underlying assumptions about what makes business practices effective. “The assumptions that we may or may not be making have to do with whether we are talking about hired labor versus family labor, whether we are talking primarily about agriculture or manufacturing. If we are talking about agriculture it matters whether it is subsistence or commercial. Also, what assumptions do we make about the nature of the economic well-being of families in the sector, and finally status of the infrastructure, including schools, roads, health facilities, and education institutions?” Dr. Levinger emphasized the importance of school enrollment and attendance rates for primary school education as a predictor and an important contextual element. Kevin Bales interjected here that measures of education were significant predictors of labor problems, but not quite as good as indicators of corruption or the rule of law. Dr. Levinger noted that these together might be useful. Dr. Bales agreed and added indicators of social unrest and conflict. He noted that including a measure for poverty created a good model for predicting labor issues. Dr. Levinger noted that such a model might be useful because it forms the situation in which business practices are condcuted. Dan Viederman added that one theme which came out very strongly in the context of business practices in particular was integration. Business practices, he suggested, are probably better to the extent that the core business practice, the sourcing, the buy-in practice are integrated with the responsibility practices. Business practices are probably more effective as they address forced and child labor to the extent that the responsibility aspect of the business or orientation of the business is integrated with whatever else the business is doing on public policy terms, be it lobbying explicitly or decision making or the approach that the business takes to issues like corruption. He posited that there is an overlap in being able to identify, find, and fix forced and child labor if one is also identifying, finding, and fixing other core labor standards, freedom of association in particular. Integration as a criterion against which to measure business practices such that we can predict or assume their effectiveness is an important one to include. Adam Greene was struck by the discussion of what he called “success factors,” those features that would determine whether a business practice was effective or not. These features may include stakeholder engagement and pulling in, coordinating with other groups, and mobilizing different actors in their different roles. A business practice may or may not be effective depending on whether it is one organization by itself or part of a coordinated effort in different actors. Mr. Greene noted a related point was the link between child labor and forced

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WRAP-UP 67 labor and the other core labor standards. He noted that forced labor rarely happens by itself. He suggested that the criteria should take into account how child and forced labor relate to the other core labor standards and how you would use that as leverage to try to address the problem, or as he put it “a holistic, integrated approach being a success factor.” He also noted the importance of understanding and addressing root causes. Mr. Greene commented on the context, arguing that a practice in one environment may or may not have the same impact in another operating environment. He concluded: “That’s a piece that’s going to have to be considered going forward. Again, it may be something that has to be considered as part of business practices but it is the success factors that will have a big impact.” Donna Chung noted that she agreed with the comments already stated by the other committee members, and wanted to add one point on the importance of clarification of terms. She noted it was critical to clarify terms in the criteria as well as other terms used during the workshop (referring to business practices, supply chains, context, etc.). Dr. Chung also focused on the notion of credibility. She noted that when one discussed possible success stories, one needed to put them in context in terms of what was successful and according to whom (that is, the evaluation and the evaluator). Dr. Chung raised the larger question as to the responsibilities companies have in affecting the root causes in the larger context in which child labor and forced labor take place. Kevin Bales noted in response to this point that a theme in a number of the presentations of good practices touched on the philosophical or normative or moral orientation of decision makers on corporate boards or in business, which he noted was very difficult to measure. Dr. Bales noted that this orientation was important in the decisions that companies make, so that they are focused on protecting individual rights. At this point in the workshop, participants were invited by Dr. Berkowitz to comment on the broad themes. Again, participants focused on the need to understand the context, as for example in this comment: “One is that I still have a fear that everything is going to be lumped together when you are looking at the criteria and that there is such a stark difference when you are looking at small-scale agriculture, family run, family operated versus a wage laborer in a manufacturing setting, and it’s not at all the same. I think it is important to make that clear distinction and it might be that the criteria are different depending upon the situation.” Another audience member commented on the point made by Kevin Bales regarding businesses’ moral compass. The audience member noted that faith-based investors and socially responsible investment managers focused on pressuring companies that did not do it on their own to adopt codes of conduct, set up compliance systems that are monitored, and broadly disseminate information on the results of efforts and monitoring. The audience member noted the important role that shareholders—from the NGO community, the faith-based community, and the socially responsible investing community—have had and continue to have.

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APPENDIXES

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