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Combating child labour in Pakistan

​​​​Bulleh Shah Packaging (BSP), a joint venture between Stora Enso (35% shareholding) and Packages Limited, operates in Pakistan. Since Pakistan has millions of child workers, the country is one of the world's most challenging operational environments for companies who want to ensure high standards in respecting and promoting human rights. BSP audits its supply chains continuously to identify and eliminate child labour.
In the third quarter of 2015, BSP confirmed that eleven cases of child and youth labour were discovered along the company's supply chains. Noel Morrin, EVP Global Responsibility at Stora Enso, discusses these findings.
 
Bulleh Shah Packaging has been struggling with this issue before. How can there still be child workers in the company's supply chains?
​The employment of these children by subcontractors is unacceptable to Stora Enso and seriously violates the requirements BSP have set for their suppliers through business contracts. These children were found because Bulleh Shah Packaging audits its suppliers rigorously and on a regular basis. We naturally don't accept any children working in our supply chains, and we are confident that we have effective systems in place for finding such cases. The identification of these child workers confirms that BSP's auditing process works well.
 
​The suppliers are risking their business when they employ children, and we need to ensure they understand this – and that there will be consequences.
 
What action did you take to support the children?
​The suppliers were immediately instructed to take corrective action in accordance with BSP's remediation policy. It requires suppliers to find a long-term solution for the child and the family, in the best interests of the child. This includes ensuring they have access to schooling. We do not accept simply laying off the child – who could then easily be employed by another company the day after. 

All of the suppliers involved in these cases will be re-audited during October 2015 to make sure the situation of each child has been resolved. BSP will continue auditing suppliers, demanding full compliance from them, and making it clear that they will lose their business with BSP if they do not improve their performance in this area.
 
 
Can you ensure that there is no more child labour in BSP's supply chains?
​Unfortunately we can't. Child labour is sadly not something that you can simply erase from your supply chains; eradicating it takes a lot of continuous work and effort. For BSP, auditing is a great tool for driving change. We want suppliers to change their behavior for good.
 
However, auditing all levels of supply chains is challenging, as the chains can be long, and as BSP can effectively execute financial power only in their business relationships with direct suppliers and their direct suppliers. For this reason, Stora Enso has signed a partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to combat child labour extensively. This work includes field research and interventions in local communities, with input from civil society.
 
​One company cannot solve the whole problem of child labour in Pakistan alone, but our partnership with the ILO is helping us join forces with the authorities and civil society to tackle the problem together. This is a long journey but we are heading in the right direction. 
 
Bulleh Shah Packaging's direct suppliers of domestic fibre and agricultural by-products
 
30 Sep 15​30 June 15​31 Dec 14​30 Sep 14​Target​

Target to be reached by

​Number of direct active suppliers335​286​143​130​
​Annual audit coverage (%)*45%​32%​87%​79%​55%​end of 2015​

 

* The share of direct suppliers of OCC and agricultural by-products that are audited during the calendar year. Excluding institutional OCC suppliers identified as low risk.

 

Bulleh Shah Packaging conducted 83 audits of its material and service suppliers during the third quarter.