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DECATHLON and combating forced labour

Krishna KUMAAR DHAMODARAN's account, as a production team leader and expert in combating forced labour.


The economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the populations most at risk of forced labour even more vulnerable. According to the latest report33 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 27.6 million people worldwide were suffering under forced labour in 2021.
Despite there being an auditing process applied throughout our value chain (for Rank 1 suppliers and some Rank 2 suppliers), each country has its own regulatory constraints which do not necessarily cover all of Decathlon's requirements in terms of human rights.


Driven in particular by the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, and then by the 2017 Duty of Vigilance, Decathlon continues to strengthe its commitment to vigilance in three areas related to modern
- forced labour: suppliers’ employees offer their work or services of their own free will and without the threat of any form of penalty; - responsible recruitment by its suppliers: the recruitment, transport, transfer, accommodation and reception of a migrant worker for the purpose of paid employment must take place without threat, without the use of force and without constraint;
- debt bondage: a person shall not work or provide a service in order to cancel a debt.


These principles were restated in Decathlon’s latest Modern Slavery Statement.
The company's requirements related to human rights and the fight against forced labour are specified in the Code of Conduct as well as in the HRP audit grid. Since 2021, both of these also integrate dormitory and ethical recruitment guidelines. These guides are particularly deployed in all countries considered at greatest risk
according to Decathlon’s mapping, i.e. 237 production sites.

In 2022, Decathlon made further advances in its fight against forced labour:
- the use of external tools to better evaluate risks, interpret alerts and build remediation plans with:
- the automatic deployment of the DiginexAPPRISE app in at-risk countries, in support of the existing HRP process:
This tool helps auditors identify situations of forced labour on the ground and suggests additional questions for individual interviews with workers while guaranteeing confidentiality. 100 production sites used DiginexApprise in 2022 (58 in 2021);
- the testing of DiginexLUMEN in Taiwan: This multilingual platform maps companies and all actors in the labour supply chain in order to assess their recruitment practices.
- the piloting of a dormitory assessment grid evaluating living conditions and supporting the existing HRP process was tested in 25 dormitory audits across India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam;
- improving teammate and supplier skills: For the first time, webinars in the local language were organised in Vietnam, Turkey, and Taiwan, for a better understanding on indicators of forced labour by teammates and certain supplier managers and workers. A total of 2,000 workers were trained on forced labour indicators. A poster illustrating the 11 indicators of forced labour identified by the ILO is also being deployed at priority suppliers in high-risk countries (this has already happened at 104 sites).


The Code of Conduct, Modern Slavery Statement, Vigilance Plan, guidelines for dormitories and ethical recruitment guidelines for suppliers and partners are available at: https://sustainability.decathlon.com/ legal-documents

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