The growing number of companies concerned about modern slavery in their supply chains are paying attention to the U.S. government’s announcement of new enforcement actions “…to eliminate the use of forced labor in the U.S. supply chain and identify responsibility for the ongoing genocide and crimes to promote anti-humanity against Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has added two PRC-based companies to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s Entity List.
Effective August 2, 2023, goods produced by Camel Group Co., Ltd. and Chenguang Biotech Group Co., Ltd. and its subsidiary Chenguang Biotechnology Group Yanqi Co. Ltd. into the United States because the companies participate in business practices that target members of persecuted groups, including Uyghur minorities in China.
This law accepts the ongoing hegemonic rivalry between the governments of the United States and China and is particularly important for sustainable energy because Camel Group, headquartered in Xiangyang City, is one of the largest manufacturers of vehicle batteries in the world and the largest manufacturer of heavy commercial vehicles in the world. battery manufacturer. The company is also a leader in the production of energy storage, including batteries used in many home solar systems.
Notably, Chenguang Biotech Group, headquartered in Handan, produces plant extracts, food additives, natural dyes, pigments and supplements from agricultural products; and is the largest pepper processor in the world as well as one of the largest makers of red pepper essence used in the United States in processed foods from frozen pizza to pasta sauce.
These enforcement actions demonstrate the U.S. government’s “…commitment to holding organizations accountable for their egregious human rights abuses and forced labor practices,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We will continue to work with all our partners to keep goods made with forced labor from Xinjiang out of U.S. commerce while facilitating the flow of legitimate commerce.”
And while this post describes the actions of the federal government, most of the activities we see to protect human rights, including substantive human rights standards and ethical purchasing practices, are contained in corporate contract documents, whether supply contracts, purchase contracts, and similar writings for the purchase of goods and materials. In their simplest form, clauses are being inserted into more and more business contracts, many of which start with something like:..
Buyer and Seller agree to establish and maintain a human rights due diligence process appropriate to the size and circumstances of the business, to assess the impact of their activities on the human rights of individuals directly affected by or indirectly affected by identifying, preventing, mitigating and accounting for these activities. their supply chains, in accordance with the 2011 United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The practical effect is that, beyond the requirements of federal law, a flood of companies acting on moral grounds are not installing solar panels from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (which may have been previously imported or circumvented the ban). The moral equivalence of American companies and individuals installing solar panels made with government-sponsored modern slavery to remedy the ills of climate change has shifted sharply in the past year in favor of Americans doing right by those suffering in Xinjiang forced labor.
The federal government began enforcing the UFLPA in June 2022. Since then, it has assessed more than 4,600 shipments worth more than $1.64 billion under the UFLPA, the largest of which was electronics, and as we blogged a few weeks ago: More than 1,000 shipments of solar panels seized at the border.
“The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force continues to send a strong message to the industry that the United States will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and that we will always stand against cruel and inhumane labor practices,” said the chairman of the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force. Labor Enforcement Task Force, Secretary of State for Policy Robert Silvers. “We are committed to the eradication of forced labor around the world.”
Modern slavery and its alternative identity, forced labor, are also being claimed against China-based companies that control the majority of cobalt and copper mines in Congo, where the extraction of key minerals used in electric vehicle batteries of forced labor and children are exploited, including the company. Sicomines that are part of the battery supply chain in popular electric vehicles sold in the US.
We are happy to help your company comply with human rights legislation. What’s more, for those who want to be among the winning companies of the future, we would be truly honored to share practical steps and best practices on anti-modern slavery. chain efforts as we all work to restore the world.
A live webinar “Offsets and RECs for reducing your greenhouse gases” 30 Talking Points in 30 Minutes, Tuesday, August 15 at 9:00 am ET presented by Stuart Kaplow and Nancy Hudes on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is free, but you must register here.