Laborlink establishes a two-way communication channel for migrant workers to share opinions and needs in real-time

Laborlink establishes a two-way communication channel for migrant workers to share opinions and needs in real-time

Business risk and sustainability solutions consultancy Elevate has acquired mobile worker survey platform Laborlink from US-based non-profit Good World Solutions.

Laborlink is a mobile platform that establishes a two-way communication channel for workers to share their viewpoints in real-time, and for organisations to have clear visibility of worker well-being in their supply chains. 

Unlike a typical audit where around just 5% of the workforce is interviewed, and workers may be coached on what to say, Laborlink surveys workers directly, giving brands and retailers an insight into safety, factory conditions, working hours and wages in supplier factories. The end result is more reliable data sourced from a larger number of workers.

Since 2010, Laborlink technology has been deployed in 16 countries and has reached over 1,000,000 workers worldwide. It operates with a number of apparel brands and retailers including Primark, C&A, Marks & Spencer, Levi Strauss Foundation, American Eagle Outfitters, and a partnership with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Most recently, it has worked with US department store retailer Target Corp on an 18-month project in northern India, aimed at tackling forced labour in its supply chain.

Target to tackle forced labour with worker surveys

"The integration of Laborlink technology into our portfolio and assessment process will drive further innovation into the responsible sourcing audit paradigm," says Elevate CEO Ian Spaulding. "We're excited to incorporate Laborlink into the Elevate Responsible Sourcing Standard audit and into our customers' specific audit protocols. We plan to roll out Laborlink's worker survey and grievance helpline solutions in all audits we perform within one year." 

The entire Laborlink team from Good World Solutions has joined Elevate and will continue to implement existing programmes and scale Laborlink within Elevate's responsible sourcing programme. This includes executive director and co-founder of Good World Solutions, Heather Franzese, and acting executive director Beth Holzman, who will all continue to lead the Laborlink product and its enhancement as part of the wider Elevate portfolio.

"Transferring our people and technology to Elevate allows us to reach new levels of scale and impact," adds Holzman. "Embedding Laborlink and worker engagement into Elevate's 12,000-plus audits per year will ensure worker voice is integral to business success. This partnership will make worker engagement supported by technology a central part of auditing, self-assessment, capacity-building and supplier ownership processes."

Earlier this year, Franzese told just-style how direct worker feedback from Laborlink is being used to help bring about change, drive sourcing decisions and give deeper visibility into the supply chain.

Using worker surveys to drive change in supply chains

Meanwhile, Elevate has also teamed up with the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) trade association to create a new interactive factory wage map to help firms track Chinese wage rates by city and province in real time.

New interactive map tracks China footwear factory wage rates