Only a few months remain for the BuyFair launch! Now more than ever, we need your support and involvement. Let’s walk through how the app will be structured.
In building the BuyFair app, we undertook an extensive research process in consultation with leading experts in labour organizations, NGOs, industry, and academia. Our research revealed that certain factors heighten the risk that forced or exploitative labour will be present in a product supply chain. For example, the presence of recruitment agents in certain areas increases the likelihood of labour abuses – recruiters sometimes take part of the worker’s wages. In some cases, recruiters may lend the worker’s family money and then coerce the labourer into abusive labour conditions. Industries that operate in areas with recruitment agents might therefore need to be scrutinised with greater care than industries based elsewhere.
Information about what happens in the supply chains of some of our favourite brands is sorely missing. The BuyFair app was built both to remedy this and as a community empowerment tool. As a first step, users can raise their voices in unison and ask companies to disclose certain information about their supply chains. Once companies provide a response to a rating tool provided by BuyFair (developed in consultation with a cross-section of stakeholders), an independent advisory we’re putting together will agree upon how questionnaire answers should be weighted to generate ratings.
Once companies are rated, users can use those ratings to make more ethical decisions. They will also be presented with better-rated alternatives, the ability to pressure companies to do a better job of supply-chain integrity and transparency (through social media and with boycotts), and self-directed community-based calls to action.
We’ve built a worker voice functionality that, for the moment, will house videos, images, and stories of workers deep in supply chains who are being exploited while they manufacture the very products we buy everyday. Over time, functionality may be added to allow users to provide data directly about the companies rated. We may also add a feature based on blockchain technology that would prevent tampering with a labourer’s hours of work.
We will be using the feedback from our beta testers over the next couple of months to improve the user experience before launching the app more widely. Have your phones ready for download! We’re counting on you.