Posted by Stuart Bell

Ergon Update May 2019

New publications

Decent work and development finance institutions
This report, researched and written by Ergon, looks at how DFIs can and do contribute to decent work and job quality through their client investments. Produced on behalf of a group of European development finance institutions (EDFIs), including FMO, DEG, CDC, Proparco and Swedfund, it includes case studies of EDFI work in Kenya, Uganda and Bangladesh.

Good practice note on managing modern slavery risks
Ergon was commissioned by a group of DFIs (CDC, IFC, EBRD with support from UK DFID) to produce this good practice note, in conjunction with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). It provides guidance for DFIs, banks, private equity firms and other financial institutions that provide capital to private companies in emerging markets. The publication offers advice for a range of sectors where risks of modern slavery are high. The Good Practice Note is of relevance and practical use for a range of company functions, including management, human resources, sustainability and procurement.


Sharing learning

Training on labour and human rights – global
We are busy with a range of practical and in-depth training programmes focused on implementing human rights and labour commitments in operational contexts. We are about to deliver a wide-ranging programme on human rights through investment relationships for in-house staff at a major European DFI.

In addition, we have also just completed two training sessions for the World Bank in Washington DC on the labour aspects of the Bank’s new Social Standards and for the Asian Development Bank in Manila, focused on ADB’s labour standards commitments. The latter work was led by Steve Gibbons and Macduy Ngo.


Speaking and facilitating events

Steve Gibbons spoke at the recent Sedex conference (26-27 March) in London on Using buyer and supplier collaboration to deliver global goals. Earlier in February he also facilitated a session on Measuring the uptake and impact of due diligence at the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector. Also in Paris, Steve participated in a panel discussion looking at modern slavery issues in the context of sustainable fashion trends, organised by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.


Current and recent projects

Promoting gender equality – global
Many of our gender-focused projects were highlighted in our last Update, issued on International Women’s Day. In addition, we are about to launch a new study on the role of women in the energy sector in Kazakhstan for EBRD and Kazakhstan’s Association of Oil & Gas and Energy Sector Organisations (“KAZENERGY”). The study will include a survey of KAZENERGY’s member companies in order to build a detailed quantitative picture of women’s employment in the sector (including in leadership and operational roles), and will highlight examples of good practice from companies operating in Kazakhstan. Our gender work is led by Kirsten Newitt.


Worker welfare assessment – KuwaitMatthew Waller and Stuart Bell, supported by a team of local consultants and worker interviewers, have just completed a major worker welfare labour assessment for a large oil and gas construction project in Kuwait. The site accounts for up to 10,000 workers, most of whom are migrants from South and South East Asia and are accommodated in worker camps.

Human rights and sports events
We are continuing to build a major professional practice related to the human rights impacts of mega sporting events. Macduy Ngo is just back from a roundtable in Morocco on African Sporting Events and Human Rights, organised by the Centre for Sports and Human Rights (CSHR) and hosted by the British Ambassador to Morocco. Macduy presented to Morocco’s National Council on Human Rights, other African national human rights institutions (NHRIs), and representatives from African sporting federations and organizing committees. We are also working with several sports clients on human rights policy and impacts.These projects build on our independent human rights assessment of Human rights in Canada, Mexico and the USA in the context of a potential FIFA 2026 World Cup. This was commissioned by the joint Canada, Mexico and USA ‘United Bid’, which was subsequently awarded the competition by FIFA in June 2018. Contact Steve Gibbons for more information.


Regional stakeholder consultations – global
As part of our continuing multi-year and multi-country research project for the European Commission looking at the application of core labour standards and working conditions in 29 countries, we have been conducting extensive stakeholder consultations. Sam Kellyhas been in Peru, while Catherine Morgans has been following up with stakeholders in Honduras and Guatemala. Further consultations are ongoing in more than 20 countries led by our network of local experts. The project is commissioned by the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) and is financed under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation. For more information on the project, contact Alastair Usher.

Improving detection and remediation of forced labour in agriculture – India, Guatemala
ISEAL has published various outputs from our recent project for the Sustainable Agriculture Network and Rainforest Alliance looking at new data sources and methods that can be used to identify risks of forced labour in various agricultural value chains. The project aimed to find new methods of identifying high-risk locations beyond the tools available to auditors. We produced a methodology to assess vulnerability to forced labour in agricultural supply chains, consisting of a set of indicators, feasible means of measurement, weighting, user information and data sources. These were tailored to two pilot countries – India and Guatemala. Brett Dodge, Ergon’s project leader, explains more about the project in a webinar, available here.

Human rights risk assessments – global
We are conducting several supply chain human rights risk assessments for clients in sectors ranging from personal care to oil & gas. These assessments draw on our in-house country risk database (covering more than 150 countries) and are tailored to the client’s business activities and sectoral exposure to arrive at a priority list of high risk sourcing countries or supply chains or products (depending on the company). As well as our human rights risk ranking database, we have more than 80 detailed country risk briefings on labour rights issues. Contact Stuart Bell for more information.

New office, new staff

Going Dutch
Our Dutch subsidiary (Ergon Associates B.V.) and office in Haarlem, Netherlands is now fully operational and hosted a fantastic Ergon staff strategy retreat in early March. Great discussions (not to mention the brewery tour).

New colleagues

We are delighted to welcome several new Ergonauts; Kate JellyAnya Marcelis and Aurélie Duchesne.

Kate comes to Ergon from the consultancy Context, where she worked on sustainability and gender pay gap reports, modern slavery statements, and employee engagement programmes. She previously worked in the Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Operations Team at DFID, where she project-managed humanitarian deployments and coordinated an emergency humanitarian staffing programme on behalf of UN agencies and NGOs. She has an MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities from LSE.

Anya, who is working in our Netherlands office, has conducted research and analysis of financial and trade relationships in and across global supply chains, assessments of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and analyses of commercial and development finance institutions’ portfolios across ESG-sensitive sectors. Anya has an MSc in Labour, Social Movements and Development from SOAS.

Aurélie has worked on business and human rights in the Oil and Gas sector.  Her main interests and expertise include: Human rights and labour rights in global supply chains, in particular in the oil and gas sector; Land rights, environmental justice and the rights of indigenous people; Human rights and security related issues. Aurelie has a law degree from the University of Strasbourg and a LL.M in the Humanities and International law from the University of Kent.