By Andy Hall
TODAY’S debate about unethical and unsustainable investment is certainly not only about Top Glove Corp Bhd alone.
Indeed, it’s the whole personal protection equipment (PPE), medical and medical supplies industry whose ethics and sustainability need to be seriously questioned by investors, buyers, consumers and governments at large.
The assumption that this migrant labour intensive industry is or ever was an ethical or environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) savvy investment option has been well and truly done away with during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the systemic exploitation prevalent across the industry has been starkly revealed across the world.
It is about time investors started acting responsibly against the rampant abuse of workers’ rights and welfare that has seen them and their clients, including some of the words largest so-called ethical pension funds, pocketing unprecedented returns at the cost of workers welfare and protection.
Alongside buyers and governments, investors have for too long chose to close their eyes through ineffective social auditing to such issues as rampant forced labour and abuse in the company’s they invest in.
Now it is for crucial investors and buyers from the medical supplies industry, along with governments claiming to be taking the lead in addressing modern day slavery, start to assert genuine pressure for sustainable change to workers’ conditions.
And this not only at Top Glove but across the whole industry, where prevalent forced labour conditions continue to be even worse in the global supply chain. – Jan 7, 2021
Andy Hall is an independent migrant worker rights specialist
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.