Schulich PhD candidate leads report on modern slavery in supply chains

A joint industry report that examines the views of select companies on the issue of modern slavery in supply chains was led by Schulich School of Business PhD candidate Kam Phung in collaboration with Delaney Greig of SHARE and Simon Lewchuk of World Vision Canada

The report, “The Straight Goods: Canadian Business Insights on Modern Slavery in Supply Chains,” offers a snapshot of select companies and their insights on the issue of modern slavery in supply chains, experiences addressing the issue and feelings about supply chain legislation.

Schulich PhD candidate Kam Phung examining options for ethically sourced coffee at a Toronto supermarket

The release of the report coincides with a Government of Canada discussion roundtable on possible supply chain legislation, which took place May 23 in Toronto. It’s the first in a series of consultations set to take place across the country.

“Sitting down with representatives from leading companies across Canada to discuss the realities of how they are approaching the issue of modern slavery in supply chains was eye opening,” said Phung. “It is encouraging to see several individuals and companies championing efforts and supporting supply chain legislation.”

Greig, manager of shareholder engagement and policy at SHARE, said the report is critical because it shares perspectives only ever heard from company representatives in private.

“As a responsible investment organization, we believe that government, companies and civil society all have a role to play in addressing this issue,” said Greig.

“While a handful of leading Canadian companies are taking steps against modern slavery and other pressing labour and human rights challenges, Canadian legislators have an important role to play in levelling the playing field and spurring further action,” said Lewchuk, senior policy advisor for child rights and protection at World Vision Canada. “The findings from this research demonstrate support for Canadian supply chain legislation that provides companies with the incentives and impetus they need to take meaningful action.”

This report is a part of Phung’s broader research on modern slavery. It benefited from a Mitacs Accelerate funding partnership between York University and World Vision Canada awarded to Phung and supervising professor Mike Valente, associate professor of organization studies and business sustainability.

Phung is a Vanier Scholar and he previously received two Academy of Management Best Paper awards. He acknowledges the support and guidance of Charles Cho, the Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business and Sustainability, and Director of Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at Schulich.

Read the full report online.