Re: Great use for Analytics
In his blog post, Joe writes
Apple's forced labor woes have continued with a recent exposé about the working conditions of iPhone assemblers at Pegatron, another of Apple's contractors in China. Meanwhile, revelations broke last month that a Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) auto plant allegedly engaged in exploitative and abusive labor practices.
Estimates from the International Labour Organization and other organizations indicate that there are presently more than 21 million victims -- men, women, and children -- of outright slavery and similarly exploitative labor practices worldwide. Dun & Bradstreet reports in an infographic that the forced labor practices of modern slavery generate approximately $150 billion in illicit profits.
On April 13, Dun & Bradstreet unveiled its Human Trafficking Risk Index, or "HTR" for short. Helping to clarify corporate "family trees" and linkages between entities and vendors throughout the procurement process, the HTR combines data from the US State Department, the International Labor Affairs Bureau, and Dun & Bradstreet's own proprietary data from 250 million global business records to pick out evidence of forced labor at specific locations along the supply chain and assign risk factors thereto on a seven-point scale. As a result, the HTR can inform companies' global supply-chain decisions so that they can demonstrate corporate responsibility and avoid those manufacturers, contractors, or other vendors who may be using forced labor.
This is an interesting use of analytics to compile a listing of companies possibly involved in "human trafficking", but I agree with the cautions expressed by others in this discussion. Government entities in particular can be notoriously sloppy in their use of innuendo and obfuscation to advance political agendas. Another example is the government's No-Fly list, the inaccuracies of which have even given a lot of Republicans cause for concern.
In the excerpts quoted above, there seems also to be a kind of mushiness in terms of what are "labor abuses", "forced labor", "slavery", and "human trafficking". If they're gonna count "exploitative labor practices" as a criterion for pillorying companies ... great, but wouldn't this just about include the entire U.S. corporate establishment?