Kohl Gill

Ashoka Fellow
United States
Fellow Since 2016

Citation

This profile was prepared when Kohl Gill was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Our global supply chain becomes increasingly complex each year, and despite local and international efforts to encourage best practices and protect workers’ rights, significant abuses and negligence persist. Recent high-profile tragedies like the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh that claimed more than 1,000 lives only highlight how much work remains to be done. Kohl founded Labor Voices (LV) to address two problems simultaneously: the lack of transparency in global supply chains, and the absence of voice for workers around the world. Labor Voices partners with local organizations to reach manufacturing and agricultural workers directly and collect real-time anonymous information about their work conditions via mobile phone surveys. Once aggregated, this data provide global brands and their supply chains what has been missing: an early warning system based on direct feedback from workers. Just as important, the lines of communication established with workers, and the information collected about factories in cities and countries across the globe, gives those workers for the first time the power of information to make informed choices about where and how they work – information they can easily share with one another. At a time when unions are in decline globally, Labor Voices can reach workers and give them less detectable ways to organize, rebalancing the power scale in their direction with potentially major economic, social and political implications.

Labor Voices was founded in 2010 and partners with global brands like Walmart that pay for access to real-time information about their supply chain. LV also works closely with factory owners and labor organizations in countries like India, Bangladesh, and Argentina who help them reach workers. As of 2014 Labor Voices is exploring partnerships in China and in the future hopes to share its data with consumers who can then hold companies accountable.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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