Published 4 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
Collaboration will allow companies to gain data-backed insight into worker treatment in their supply chains.
A new partnership
between supplier management platform SupplyShift
and the social enterprise Ulula will allow companies to
gain better insight into how workers are being treated in their supply chains —
something that could help improve workers’ rights and reduce forced labor around
“This partnership ... is groundbreaking because it helps integrate worker
feedback into supply chain management to create more transparency and
responsible sourcing,” Antoine Heuty, founder and CEO of Ulula, told
Sustainable Brands. “Our partnership puts better data about working
conditions at the fingerprints of companies to help drive positive change in
their supply chains.”
While many in the corporate world are well aware that labor abuses including
and other forms of modern
are rampant in supply chains across industries — the International Labour
in 2016 that, at any given time, there are 24.9 million people around the world
in forced labor — getting data about how prevalent these practices are across a
single company’s supply chain remains a challenge.
This partnership aims to address that by bringing together two very different
entities. Ulula is a new company, focused on creating more transparent and
ethical supply chains through
It gathers data through anonymous, user-friendly interfaces, mostly via the
mobile technology that is accessible to workers around the world — adding to the
arsenal of tools such as
that leverage workers’ smartphones to help hold companies accountable through
direct worker feedback.
“Worker-generated data and feedback provides more honest data to guide sourcing
decisions,” Heuty said. “It also offers practical guidance for employers to
improve their labor and social practices.”
Meanwhile, SupplyShift is a large, established company; its comprehensive
platform allows companies to analyze their entire supplier networks, with the
goal of both increasing efficiency and reducing risk. Adding in data from Ulula
allows SupplyShift to provide a better product for their clients.
“The data from Ulula integrated into the SupplyShift supplier network enables
companies to make informed decisions when prioritizing suppliers whose business
ethics match their own commitments,” Bob Young, VP of Commercial for
SupplyShift, told SB.
The next step for Ulula and SupplyShift will be to create products that better
match customers’ needs — and help get needed data about potential labor risk
into the hands of the right decision-makers.
“We are looking to offer more standardized packages to companies, to make it
easier to scale up integration of worker voice into supply chain and responsible
sourcing decision-making,” Heuty said. “We want to make it seamless for
companies to get direct, anonymous and honest feedback from workers to eradicate
abuses and make positive changes in the workplace.”
For SupplyShift, the goal is to make it as easy to make supplier decisions based
on labor risk as it is on most commonly accepted business criteria.
“The ideal use case for the SupplyShift/Ulula data and technology is to provide
an integrated view of all supplier data – at all levels – that is used by
procurement to guide purchasing decisions alongside usual criteria such as price
and quality,” Young said.
While the tool is still new and not yet being utilized by a wide range of
clients, so far, according to Heuty: “The initial reaction has been very
positive, as [the platform] helps our clients deepen their understanding of
their supply chains while making it easier to contextualize and benchmark.”
While it will take real, concerted effort to reduce the number of people trapped
in forced labor situations around the world, making it easier for companies to
make the right decisions — and allowing for those decisions to be driven by
real-world data — could go a long way towards the goal of fully ethical,
traceable and sustainable supply chains. Ulula and SupplyShift’s partnership is
another tool in the arsenal of a socially sustainable business.
Published Feb 3, 2019 7pm EST / 4pm PST / 12am GMT / 1am CET
Nithin is a freelance writer who focuses on global economic, and environmental issues with an aim at building channels of communication and collaboration around common challenges.