The Consumer Goods Forum and Malaysian Government Unite Leaders To Advance Responsible Recruitment Practices

Apr 29, 2024 8:00 AM ET
A panel discussion

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, April 29, 2024 /3BL/ - On the eve of the final adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Directive by the European Union, business, CSOs and policymakers gathered in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the next practical steps in the journey to eradicate forced labour. The Symposium co-organised by The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Human Rights Coalition in collaboration with the Malaysian Ministry of Plantations and Commodities and My Voice, was an opportunity to assess progress on responsible recruitment and identify the way forward, in this rapidly evolving regulatory context.

The event, held at St. Giles Boulevard Hotel, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, brought together over 60 organisations including Malaysian businesses, civil society, government representatives, and international brands and retailers. During the discussions, participants from all sectors acknowledged the importance of human rights due diligence as a business imperative.

As the move from voluntary commitments to mandatory regulations consolidates, people and planet positive businesses are the key to ensuring thriving and resilient economies that respect the rights of workers and help sustainable businesses to flourish. Faced with the complex challenge of addressing adverse social impacts, every stakeholder must play their part to accelerate and scale up change, to address systemic social issues in supply chains.

Throughout the morning, representatives from the Ministry of Human Resources, Immigration and Labour Departments of Malaysia shared insights on the progress and ongoing efforts of government bodies to protect migrant workers, who make up 70 percent of the sector’s workforce. Government representatives highlighted Malaysia’s ongoing effort to implement stringent laws, enhance monitoring and compliance mechanisms to prevent forced labour, and improve worker protection through new legislation and certification systems.

Didier Bergeret, Director of Sustainability at The Consumer Goods Forum, said: “Ensuring fair pay and decent conditions for all workers, as well as the eradication of forced labour, is critical for every responsible business – and events such as today are essential to accelerate progress. With impending regulations, such as the Corporate Sustainability Directive by the EU, taking action now is not just a choice, but a necessity to stay ahead of the curve and ensure a fair and ethical future for all workers. Malaysia can set a precedent for responsible recruitment practices, bolstering its position as a global leader in ethical labour standards.”

During the symposium, collaboration with international bodies, businesses, workers, unions, civil society and partner nations, to embrace evolving standards on human rights and environmental due diligence, was highlighted. Reflecting on ongoing collaborations, initiatives like the CGF’S People Positive Palm Project (P3 Project), which aims to eradicate forced labour from the Malaysian palm oil industry through collective action, were commended. The importance of continued engagement and collaboration to drive sustainable change was emphasised.

Business, civil society and worker representatives also took shared lessons and recommendations. Speakers were united around the pivotal role of continuous and open communication with workers as the only means to find adequate and lasting solutions to human rights risks in supply chains. To build a more resilient industry amidst regulatory changes, the human component of due diligence cannot be left aside. Both business and government were commended to continue to take concrete action towards policy changes and implementation, always in consultation with rights holders.

The event concluded with a call to action for businesses, government bodies, and civil society to work together towards the common goal of ensuring ethical labour practices and upholding human rights across supply chains.

Didier Bergeret continued: “We are at a pivotal moment in the pursuit of responsible recruitment practices within our industry. As global attention around fair labour and employment standards rightly intensifies, we must come together to discuss and devise strategies that not only comply with regulations but strengthen our commitment to the rights of workers. No company or industry can eradicate forced labour alone, and because today’s complex supply chains often span many countries and continents, businesses must work closely with governments and non-profits to ensure urgent change. We’re very grateful to the Malaysian Government for their ongoing collaboration as we strive to keep doing more and going further.”

The CGF’s Human Rights Coalition is the world’s leading collective of retailers and manufacturers working together to ensure that human rights are protected and respected across the entire length of international supply chains. As set out by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, businesses have an important responsibility to address and prevent any negative human rights impacts across their operations. The Human Rights Coalition collaborates with policymakers, NGOs and experts to help implement robust Human Rights Due Diligence across the globe.

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About the Human Rights Coalition

The Human Rights Coalition is the leading collective of consumer goods companies strengthening due diligence throughout their business practices to ensure Workers’ rights are protected, respected, and remedied at every step of the value chain. As a CEO-led initiative hosted by The Consumer Goods Forum, the only organisation to convene manufacturers and retailers globally, the HRC supports companies to effectively address salient human rights impacts, notably around forced labour, in their business practices through aligned, accelerated action driven at the highest levels of leadership. The work of the HRC continues the CGF’s long history of engagement on the issue of forced labour within consumer goods supply chains by building on the CGF’s Social Resolution on Forced Labour, the first of its kind in the industry; its Priority Industry Principles; and ongoing relationships with key stakeholders in the industry. To learn more about the Human Rights Coalition, visit

About The Consumer Goods Forum 

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 55 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit:

For additional information, please contact: 

Didier Bergeret 
Director, Sustainability 
The Consumer Goods Forum 
Social Sustainability (Human Rights)