Recently, Dr. David Gilfoil, director of the DeSales University Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program, gave a presentation on supply chain ethics to a packed room at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. The keynote address, given to local members of the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), is part of the ongoing partnership between DeSales and ISM. DeSales University’s MBA Program began offering a supply chain concentration in fall of 2015.
Dr. Gilfoil challenged attendees — many of whom are responsible for global sourcing materials, shipments, imports and other logistics — to ask themselves who should be accountable for meeting or exceeding ethical standards around environmental stewardship, workplace conditions and illegal labor policies.
Dr. Gilfoil pointed out that though businesses are often focused on customers and stockholders, they are not the only stakeholders responsible for a product’s success. Employees, local communities and others are also important to consider. And in the age of transparency, this type of thinking is needed now more than ever.
Citing now infamous scandals like the 2013 Dhaka fire which left 1135 dead and 2515 injured in a garment factory in Bangladesh, and the more than a dozen suicides at the Foxconn factory in China where Apple products are made, Dr. Gilfoil highlighted the need for professionals to understand where their products are coming from and under what conditions they are being produced.
Perhaps most shocking, were the statistics presented on slave labor worldwide. The International Labour Organization estimates that 20.9 million people are victims of slave labor globally, generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits per year.
Dr. Gilfoil’s presentation was timely. In February, President Barack Obama signed a bill barring the import of goods produced by slave labor from entering the United States. Shipments derived from slaves, including items as varied as electronics, to garments and even fish, will be prevented from entering the country under the new law that closes a legal loophole from the Tariff Act of 1930. The United States joins only a handful of countries who have laws addressing forced labor goods, including Canada and Australia.
To learn more about DeSales' MBA Supply Chain Management concentration, visit http://bit.ly/1W6ufAE.
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