When it comes to ending workplace slavery, brand attacks might ignite fleeting moments of righteous social media outrage, but companies need to dig a lot deeper into their supply chains for lasting change.
This was my big takeaway after talking with Justin Dillion, founder and CEO of Made In A Free World, right before he spoke during a recent roundtable at SAP’s Hudson Yards offices in New York. The occasion was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, but the challenge remains top of mind for organizations every day of the year.
Slavery Is Not a Brand Problem
Dillion’s company has created a fintech tool called FRDM that help organizations measure slavery risk in their supply chain, and use their purchasing power to solve the problem. “The way to beat the bad guys is to fix the commercial relationship around them, and make it impossible for them to do business,” said Dillion.
#Fintech tool measures human trafficking risk in supply chains so buyers and sellers can solve problems together
Made In A Free World originated as a data-driven survey to see if consumers cared about the presence of slave labor in the products they used. “Companies told us they didn’t have a tool to measure slavery – it was too big – and they didn’t have a way to talk about it,” said Dillion.
FRDM relies on a growing database of customers and their suppliers collectively identifying risk and making better buying decisions. The tool is embedded in the SAP Ariba business network, and according to Dillion, influences over $10 billion in commerce. A self-described hope-aholic, Dillion said most of humanity, (and by extension, the organizations they work for), exists on a continuum between perfection and evil. He emphasized that FRDM is not about shame and blame.
“It’s not a ratings tool for blacklisting companies. It’s a tool to atomize risk because when you look at risk in your supply chain, it’s seldom in the first tier. And if you don’t know where the risk is, you can’t create a plan to mitigate it.”
Normalize Doing Business for the Greater Good
Dillions said FRDM was built over the past few years as regulations expanded, and border patrols began paying much more attention to imports. Companies in numerous industries including retail, financial services, aerospace, insurance are using the tool to create a “virtuous network” where good companies collectively use their spending power for the greater good profits.
“We’re all about return on investment [ROI], and it’s not just purpose-driven ROI,” said Dillions. “When a buyer and supplier start to work together on these challenges, transparency happens with networks forming. This saves customers time and operational budget, and makes it more difficult for people to do bad things like slavery, for this generation and upcoming ones.”
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