Traceability and the collection of Key Data Elements (KDEs) in the context of social responsibility is an evolving topic. While traceability and KDEs have been used extensively in assessing environmental and food safety issues, industry is only just beginning to utilize these tools to address human and labor rights issues in supply chains. But determining how to effectively leverage traceability to promote decent work in the seafood sector is tricky.
KDEs such as wages, rest hours, grievance mechanisms, and recruitment agency fees can help inform an assessment of the level of risk in a given supply chain. However, verifying the accuracy of this information is challenging; the only way to validate it is to ask workers directly, which can be difficult for end-buyers to do, especially in a way that protects worker confidentiality and safety.
Research led by the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT) found that, given the challenges around verification and validating information with workers, two labor-specific KDEs are essential to understanding risk to workers. These KDEs are:
(1) Existence of an independent trade union or representative worker organization
(2) Name of the union or worker organization.
As companies design and implement traceability policies, it is essential that they include these KDEs to inform their understanding of human and labor rights risks in their supply chains.