Adapted from Better Companies, Better World by Linda Haydock, SNJM
A powerful alliance is formed when religious women and men, ecumenical and interfaith groups, and non-profit partners bring their faith to bear in boardroom of the largest corporations in the world. In twenty years, there are many accomplishments in addressing human trafficking through share holder advocacy.
Four areas are noteworthy:
Hotels/Airports: The result of partnerships that have been devoted to addressing sex trafficking taking place in hotels and through airline travel is remarkable. Almost every major hotel chain has signed “The Code” to prevent sexual exploitation of children. Nearly one million employees have received training to prevent exploitation; identify and report suspected cases of human trafficking and to support children’s rights. On your next plane ride ask the flight attendant if she/he has received training about human trafficking.
Shareholders & Chocolate:Shareholders resolutions and dialogues with numerous Corporate companies have created accountability. What does a win-win look like for vulnerable people, shareholders and companies?
Example: the Hershey Company. What is not to like about chocolate? Child labor. Share holders concern about child labor in West Africa prompted dialogue with Hershey. Today we celebrate Hershey’s commitment to 100% certifiable and sustainable chocolate by 2020 which is free of child labor and the adoption of a Human Rights Policy that includes ethical recruitment.
Technology:Recently, Christian Brothers Investment Services illuminated the potential dark side of the tech sector, child pornography. Through a shareholder resolution, CBIS called Verizon Corporate Board to issue a report on the potential sexual exploitation of children through the Company’s products and services. The result. 33.7 % of Verizon’s shareholders voted in favor of the resolution. Verizon’s Corporate Board of child pornography. It is hopeful that more shareholders are using their voice in setting the direction of a company.
Worker Recruitment:A critical area of focus in shareholder advocacy in modern day slavery is to request the ethical recruitment of workers. The global economy creates a climate where labor brokers charge workers outrageous recruitment fees, take travel documents and do not provide contracts. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility is leading the No fees Campaignto support ethical recruitment. To date, 40 companies, including Walmart, Ford, Hormel and Archer Daniels Midland have committed to “no worker paid fees.”
Shareholder Voices are being heard. Use your voice to make a difference too.