The UN Forum is highlighting concerns around human rights abuses in supply chains.

The Forum is covering topics such as blockchain’s ability to highlight unethical practices in supply chains and children’s rights in the supply chain process. The ethics and sustainability of corporate supply chains is attracting attention in the wider consumer sphere. Child labour, poor workplace conditions and corruption are ever-present issues that demand a solution.

Vulnerable children in supply chains

One in four children are engaged in child labour in the least developed countries. In addition, forty percent of workers in artisanal small mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are children. Consequently, miners are some of the biggest victims of inhumane labour conditions.

Forced labour is not the only way mining operations can affect children. Because of close mining sites, children’s communities, households and communication with the wider community can be affected. Even if children are not directly forced or coerced into working in the mines, these mining operations have a strong impact on their local areas.

Human rights abuse

Not only children, but also adult workers, are exploited by supply chains. Supply chain tracking therefore must be comprehensive to identify:

  • financial and political corruption
  • labour abuse
  • workplace risk
  • conflict sourcing

Vulnerable people – those in economically, physically or socially poor situations – are exploited as a result of inattention to supply chains.

The sourcing of cobalt and 3TG (tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold) has raised concerns in recent years. This is because these minerals are often unethically mined, from small mines and in conflict conditions. For this reason, they have earned the name ‘conflict minerals’. Conflict mineral mining puts workers in unethical, unsafe working conditions.

It’s clear that consumers want to know that they are not engaging in human rights abuse by purchasing a product. But how is it possible to trace opaque supply chains?

That’s where blockchain comes in.

Blockchain for better supply chain management

Blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger that is resistant to change. It provides a permanent, reliable way of tracking supply chains, and offers insight into responsible sourcing. Because of this, it’s a reliable way to track mining, food, wine, energy and a multitude of other supply chains.

At Blockhead Technologies, we are bringing traceability into supply chains with STAMP™.

STAMP™ is backed by blockchain technology. It is Blockhead Technologies’ flagship product, designed to provide end-to-end stewardship. Consequently, STAMP™ brings transparency and traceability into supply chains by identifying inefficient practices, reducing costs and easily integrating with preexisting supply chains.

STAMP™ means knowing where the materials you source come from, always.

Blockchain is not the only disruptive technology featured in the UN Forum. Other segments include the role of automation and artificial intelligence in supply chains, and how they can support human rights due diligence. Disruptive technology has the potential to revolutionise supply chains. Blockchain, for one, provides a decentralised, reliable way of monitoring the movements of the supply chain.

If every supply chain could become transparent on the blockchain, it has the potential to save the lives and livelihoods of children, workers and communities.

You can find out more about STAMP™ here.

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