Business Lawyers Are in a Unique Position to Help Their Clients Identify Supply-Chain Risks Involving Labor Trafficking and Child Labor
E. Christopher Johnson Jr., 70(4): 1083-1122 (Fall 2015)
The United States and other governments are actively passing legislation addressing labor trafficking and child labor practices. This legislation includes the Updated Federal Acquisition Regulation and Proposed Federal Supply Chain Transparency Act in the United States; supplychain laws in the United Kingdom and France; and corporate social responsibility (CSR) laws in the European Union, Canada, and India. Similarly, the Southern Poverty Law Center and others in the plaintiffs’ bar are experiencing increasing success in bringing suits against businesses allegedly engaging in illegal labor trafficking and child labor practices.
Against this backdrop of increasing regulatory action, business lawyers are well positioned to help their clients identify supply-chain risks involving labor trafficking and child labor. To assist them, a working group of the ABA Business Law Section developed four simple principles (since adopted by the ABA House of Delegates) to provide businesses and their lawyers with a risk-based compliance approach.
The ABA Model Principles and related Policies are consistent with the growing body of regulatory law and can help businesses comply and hopefully avoid compliance issue pitfalls, such as have occurred with the Dodd-Frank conflict-minerals provisions, and litigation from a growing number of potential plaintiffs, including the families of over 1,100 workers killed in the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh. From the perspective of CSR—the subject matter covered by one of the Business Law Section’s newest task forces—the ABA Model Principles and related Policies can help justify a business case against labor trafficking and child labor economically, legally, ethically, and philanthropically. This, in turn, helps both inside and outside counsel identify and navigate the human rights risks in the supply chains of the corporations they represent— corporations associated with products consumers buy and use every day.
Human Rights Protections in International Supply Chains - Protecting Workers and Managing Company Risk
David V. Snyder and Susan A. Maslow, 73(4) 1093-1106 (Fall 2018)
Profound Change: The Evolution of ESG
A Discussion Among E. Christopher Johnson, Jr., John H. Stout, and Ashley C. Walter, 75(4): 2567-2608 (Fall 2020)
This article has been abstracted from a series of telephone conference discussions among E. Christopher Johnson, Jr., John H. Stout, and Ashley C. Walter, each of whom has chaired committees of the Business Law Section and served as a member of the Council. The discussion focused on the evolution, meaning, and critical importance of the ideas, meanings, and principles embodied in the terms “sustainability,” “CSR” (corporate social responsibility), and ESG (environment, social, and governance). The discussion began before the novel coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd impacted our lives—our country’s and the world’s social, political, and economic well-being and order. The discussion and preparation of this article was heavily influenced by these events as they forced not only an examination of the history of the above terms but also a reflection on their application to, and relevance for, strategically charting a path forward.