Do you know the cost of the coffee you drink, the shoes you wear, or the display you’re reading from? Not just the price tag, but the true cost and the people affected by the products you choose.

As globalization moves production around the planet in pursuit of a better bottom line, consumers often benefit from lower prices. But in addition to the price tag we see, there’s one we don’t.

Companies that operate in countries that lack regulation have the ability to charge less for their products, but the cost to the workers that make and deliver those products can be heartbreaking. Many people work in conditions amounting to modern slavery, as bonded laborers or as the victims of human trafficking. Passports and identity documents have been confiscated and held for ransom, and workers have been charged for travel, housing, and job placement.

In the battle for ethical, responsible, and humane supply chains, HP is leading the charge, with the knowledge that a company can have an enormous impact on people’s lives and their communities.

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Offering a Trusted Brand Promise

No one company can change everything, but by collaborating across industries HP is fighting exploitation, forced labor, and trafficking of migrant workers in supply chains.

“Workers in global supply chains deserve fair treatment. They should not have to pay to work. Collaboration among leading companies on this issue is critical to inspire and achieve the scale and momentum needed to advance the responsible recruitment of migrant workers globally,” affirms HP’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, Stuart Pann.

Taking Specific Actions

HP prohibits recruitment fees and the hiring of workers through labor or recruitment agencies; it prohibits withholding of worker passports or any personal documentation; and it requires employers to pay the cost of a worker’s return to their home country after their contract is finished. HP tops the list of tech companies taking measures to fight modern slavery in the supply chain.

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Additionally, HP evaluates its suppliers to ensure workers are treated fairly from the start of the business relationship. Results from supplier audits, targeted assessments, and monthly key performance indicator (KPI) tracking allow the company to identify and prioritize existing and emerging issues in the supply chain. HP also addresses risk and drives supplier improvement through targeted capability building, remediation, and industry collaboration. By correcting violations of its standards, HP can improve conditions and systems, and foster trusting business relationships with mutual benefits.

Caring About Workers’ Quality of Life

It’s about more than fees and standards though—it’s about the total quality of life for the people who make products. In 2015, along with Social Accountability International (SAI), an NGO focused on socially responsible workplaces and communities, HP launched TenSquared to address worker-management communication. The company also partners with Business for Social Responsibility on programs to promote worker rights and well-being.

In working with these organizations the aim is better results for its workers and business. HP tries to address the root causes of work-related stress, so as to decrease employee turnover and sick days, and helps workers communicate more effectively through conflict resolution and team building.

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HP also trains and empowers vulnerable workers such as women, foreign migrant workers, and young workers. HP’s suppliers house thousands of workers onsite and offers sports activities, celebrations, and gatherings for enjoyment outside the workspace.

“We measure success through how our actions and solutions help people, businesses, and communities thrive,” said Dion Weisler, CEO of HP, in the company’s Sustainability Report.

For customers and partners to trust that the products they use are engineered with integrity a commitment to empower workers and make sure that human rights are respected throughout the supply chain is necessary. This is how businesses can end all forms of modern slavery.


Defeat Poverty

Modern Slavery, This Is How Companies Can End It