May 17, 2020

Oxfam: Unilever Vietnam improves labour rights; challenges remain

Unilever Vietnam labour rights
Oxfam labour rights supply chain
Unilever
Cu Chi
Nye Longman
3 min
Oxfam praises Unilever for improving labour conditions but highlights further challenges
A report published by Oxfam has found that Unilever's commitment to labour rights in its Vietnam supply chain has improved over the last three years...

A report published by Oxfam has found that Unilever's  commitment to labour rights in its Vietnam supply chain has improved over the last three years, while significant challenges remain.
 

The report follows a study in 2013 which highlighted the gap between the company's policies and the reality on the ground for workers, low wages and excessive working hours, which Oxfam says are endemic in global supply chains like these. The multinational company allowed Oxfam access to its staff, operations, data and key suppliers at its factory in Cu Chi, near Ho Chi Minh City, which manufactures personal, home care, and food products.

Evidence of Unilever's improved commitment to labour rights includes regular dialogue with trade unions at a global level, better sourcing policies, increased trust between workers and management and a commitment to more direct employment in its manufacturing operations, bringing greater job security and employment benefits.

However, the review also showed there is a lot more to be done to achieve sustained positive change for workers making its products in Vietnam and other parts of its supply chain, something the company acknowledges.

Read our in-deptth article about the rise of Vietnam as a manufacturing and supply chain hub in the July issue of Business Review Australia & Asia.  
 

The study found that wages of a typical semi-skilled worker in Unilever's factory had increased 48 percent between July 2011 and July 2015, helped by government increases in the minimum wage, but lower skilled workers with dependants said they still struggled to make ends meet.

Oxfam also found that more people were directly employed in the company's factory. However, the percentage of women was down from 19 percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2015 whilst women made up two thirds (67 percent) of those employed by a third party supplier with lower wages and benefits.

In the supply chain, the report highlights that suppliers are much more aware of Unilever's expectations on labour standards, but lacked guidance on how they can deliver on these and meet commercial requirements at the same time, with four out of five suppliers believing better standards would cost them more.

The report recommends that Unilever steps up its efforts to ensure gender equality in its manufacturing operations and do more to influence the wider system affecting labour rights, from worker representation and business practices to engaging with governments.
 

 

Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam's Ethical Trade Manager, said: "It's unusual for a multinational company to open up its business to Oxfam in this way and shows great transparency and openness to improve. It's clear that the process has already brought positive change within the company and most importantly for the people making its products, and has the potential to deliver much more.

"Yet huge challenges remain for multinational companies to ensure workers enjoy good jobs on a living wage, with opportunities for women to progress. Unilever has recognised the need for companies to do business differently. All too often companies feel pressure to put containing costs above better labour standards. Ways need to be found for workers, farmers and communities to get a fairer share of the value that business generates, and women's empowerment should be embedded in that strategy.

"Oxfam would like to see Unilever use its power to influence other companies, and governments, to tackle the root causes of poor labour standards. But it is also time for these companies to step up and follow Unilever's lead."

 

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Jul 25, 2021

People Moves: Kuehne+Nagel, Asuccini, Algo

supplychain
Procurement
KuehneNagel
Logistics
2 min
Stay up to date on the latest supply chain executive moves and promotions, including Kuehne+Nagel, Algo, and Asuccini LLC

Peer Gjeow Rasmussen

Kuehne+Nagel


Was: Managing Director, Kuehne+Nagel India
Now: Managing Director, Kuehne+Nagel Singapore and Malaysia 

Skilled in freight forwarding, logistics management, and international logistics, Peer Gjeow Rasmussen has worked for almost two decades to make Kuehne+Nagel a global leader in supply chain. With experience in Thailand, China, Denmark, the USA, and India, Rasmussen is poised to excel in the company’s diverse Singapore and Malaysia divisions. Said Jens Drewes, President of Kuehne+Nagel Asia-Pacific: "Peer’s proven leadership will ensure continued strategic growth and success." 

 

Heidi Turk

Algo


Was: SVP Supply Chain, NBC Universal
Now: Chief Customer Success Officer, Algo


Heidi Turk has been named Chief Customer Success Officer at Algo, a leading supply chain intelligence SaaS solutions provider. Prior to joining Algo, Turk spent the 23 years with NBC Universal, most recently as SVP Supply Chain.

Amjad Hussain, Chairman, founder and CEO, said: “Heidi’s deep knowledge of hard-goods manufacturing, distribution and retail channel operations will take Algo's white-glove, customer-centric service and support to the next level."


Jim Vrtis

Asuccini 


Now: Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, Asuccini

Jim Vrtis has been elected to the board of directors at Asuccini LLC, the leading international logistics transportation management software company. Vrtis will join as the Vice Chairman, and continue his role as CEO at Artemis ABA Inc. 

Vrtis has more than 20 years of industry experience working in transportation and logistics. Ashkan Shamili, Founder & CEO, said: “With the addition of Jim to our Board, we are committed to providing our customers with an innovative customised transportation management system built in the Salesforce cloud and tailored to the way our customers run their business.”

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