- Only 22% of companies are addressing child labor within the supply chain, while just 23% are attempting to reduce the environmental impact of production, according to a report from Standard Chartered's Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Trade Review reported.
- Further results indicate that the issues being addressed are considered easy to tackle, with 60% engaged in improving workplace safety. Roughly 55% are working on waste reduction and recycling, and 50% are attempting to establish working hour limits.
- The report is based on surveyed results from interviews with representatives from Chinese, German, Hongkongese, Italian, Japanese, Singaporean, South Korean and North American businesses. Most respondents came from companies with earnings of at least US $500 million.
Despite ongoing efforts by human rights organizations, child labor remains a problem throughout the world, particularly in countries lacking access to mandatory free education. Parents may be uneducated or otherwise unaware of the benefits of study, thus creating a cycle of economic and unschooled destitution.
Further, countries with high unemployment and poverty rates are also prone to child labor, since families often rely on children to contribute household income, despite the minimal wages earned. As recently as 2005, more than 1/4 of the global population was reported to dwell in extreme poverty, according the U.N. Intensified poverty, which exists throughout Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America is directly linked to the use of child labor.
Within many countries, child labor laws allow exemptions for certain types of work, including in agriculture and domestics. These exemptions occur not only out of tradition, but because labor departments are often under-funded and under-staffed. National debt also plays a role where in a country like Malawi, a full 40% of its GDP is allocated to repay creditors, with only 15% of the GDP going toward healthcare and education combined.