Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (November 17, 2023)

I’ve gotten a late start to leaf raking this year.

I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather yesterday to begin the process, starting with my front lawn. I spent two hours raking and bagging leaves, but looking out the living room window this morning, you wouldn’t know it. The lawn is once again covered with leaves, and there are plenty of leaves still in the trees waiting to fall. 

I’ll do a little more raking today, a little more each day, until the leaves are gone, or the first snow comes, or I just look around me and say,


Moving on, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

Ready to Comply With Another Forced Labor in Supply Chain Law?

Forced labor is a supply chain problem I have written about several times over the past decade. Here are a few examples:

In the past few years, we’ve seen laws passed focused on addressing this problem, such as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in the United States. Another example is Canada’s “Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act,” which takes effect on January 1, 2024. The law requires companies to file a report, on or before May 31 of each year, to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness detailing “the steps the entity has taken during its previous financial year to prevent and reduce the risk that forced labour or child labour is used at any step of the production of goods in Canada or elsewhere by the entity or of goods imported into Canada by the entity.”

As Amy Wunderlin reports in Supply Chain 24/7, “The law applies to both domestic and international businesses that meet at least two of three thresholds: CAD $40 million in gross worldwide revenues, $20 million in assets, or an average of 250 employees or more.” Failure to comply can lead to a fine of up to $250,000 

I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying for more than a decade: The use of forced labor and child labor in supply chains is a symptom of poor supply chain visibility. As with sustainability, trade security, and product safety and quality, if you want to make progress on eradicating this problem, you have to develop a more granular and detailed understanding of your supply chain. You have to improve the way you communicate and collaborate with your suppliers, especially lower-tiered ones. And most importantly, you can’t outsource the responsibility; the buck ultimately stops with you, the brand owner. You have to see and walk your supply chain, from start to finish, with your own eyes and feet.

Difficult, time-consuming, and costly to do? Yes, but there are no shortcuts here. And while years ago this was a voluntary effort, it is now becoming mandatory. If you haven’t been preparing to comply with these new laws, and haven’t been communicating and collaborating with your trading partners about it, the time to start is now.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Memory” by Windser