On 13 April IDSN Executive Director, Meena Varma, spoke at a webinar organised by Ethical Trade Norway. The webinar brought together stakeholders, including Norwegian companies sourcing in South Asia, to share insights and strategies for tackling caste discrimination as well as other forms of discrimination in global supply chains.

The event included insightful presentations by Maya Sunde Singh, Programme Adviser at the Norwegian Human Rights Fund and Coordinator of the Dalit Solidarity Network Norway and Silje Marie Rosenlund, Senior Adviser at Ethical Trade Norway.

All speakers agreed that it is crucial to address discrimination explicitly with targeted strategies and policies to ensure that also discrimination that is often hidden, such as caste discrimination, is in fact being tackled.

Ms. Varma, explained the direct links between caste discrimination and human rights violations such as forced and bonded labour and other forms of hazardous and exploitative labour that occur in supply chains in South Asia.

All speakers emphasized the need to educate all workers on their rights, the policies in place and how to access grievance and complaints mechanisms. It was also stressed that a closer examination of the social and cultural power dynamics at play and the staff composition may be needed in order to ensure this is done in a fully inclusive way.

Ms. Varma also pointed participants to the ETI-UK’s Base Code guidance: caste in global supply chains, for further information on caste discrimination and how to begin to address this in your supply chain.

Ahead of the event Ethical Trade Norway published an article, in Norwegian, on caste discrimination in supply chains, by Maya Sunde Singh, who is also the Coordinator of the Dalit Solidarity Network Norway.

The webinar follows on from a number of previous events and initiatives by Ethical Trade Norway to address caste discrimination in the operations of Norwegian companies.