Browsing Masters Degrees (Philosophy) by browse.metadata.advisor "Engelbrecht, Schalk"
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- ItemSupply chain slavery : the case for corporate responsibility beyond direct suppliers(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University., 2020-03) Schoeman, Cynthia Therese; Engelbrecht, Schalk; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Human rights abuse in employment practices is especially widespread in corporate supply chains. These abuses are increasingly recognised as modern slavery, which is defined as “forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking … [that] refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power” (UN nd.). Slavery is therefore not simply an historical atrocity – it is a current, global and pervasive problem. The corporate imperative to address modern slavery derives both from the gross abuse of human rights as well as the magnitude of the problem. As an illustration of the scale of the problem, the Atlantic slave trade, which lasted for almost four centuries, from the 16th to the 19th century, is put at 11.9 million people (Lovejoy 1989:368), while currently 40.3 million people are victims of contemporary forms of slavery (Global Slavery Index 2018). This thesis sets out a case for corporate responsibility for modern slavery beyond direct suppliers and their employees since there is a greater risk of modern slavery in distant, indirect and sub-tier suppliers (LeBaron 2014:245). There are three overarching arguments in favour of such a broadened definition of corporate responsibility. The first argument is that all suppliers‟ employees can be categorised as stakeholders of the corporation. This means that the principles of stakeholder theory apply, which dictate that these employees‟ interests and wellbeing fall within the scope of a corporation‟s responsibility. In terms of the nature and scope of such corporate responsibility, leverage-based as well as negative corporate responsibility is proposed. The former refers to responsibility beyond “direct and indirect contributions to social … impacts” to include influencing “the actions of other actors through its relationships” (Wood 2012:64), which extends beyond direct suppliers. As regards the latter, negative responsibility is advocated, namely „to do no harm‟ (with positive responsibility being „to do good‟). This is proposed in light of the often onerous scope of positive responsibility. This dual stance on corporate responsibility is supported by three global frameworks that focus on corporate human rights responsibility: the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. A further argument supporting corporate responsibility beyond direct suppliers stems from corporations‟ complicity in the formation of lengthy, fragmented and complex supply chains in pursuit of the goals of reduced cost and risk – where that structure often creates conditions that lead to human rights abuse. These business goals and their negative consequences have the added effect of undermining the CSR goal of eradicating modern slavery. The deliberate creation and pursuit of this business model augments the case for corporate responsibility for modern slavery beyond direct suppliers. The thesis therefore concludes that corporate responsibility for modern slavery should extend beyond direct suppliers to apply throughout corporations‟ entire supply chain.