Quick Factssmall-textile-factory

  • The SHDB project was launched in 2009.
  • It is a project of New Earth, a 501 c3 non profit organization located in the Greater Boston area in the U.S. (link to New Earth website)
  • A first user portal was developed in 2010.
  • Seven Case studies using the system were conducted for The Sustainability Consortium in 2011.
  • The SHDB was applied to 100 product categories for The Sustainability Consortium SMRS in 2012.

 SHDB Project history

The Social Hotspot Database (SHDB) project was launched in 2009 to make comprehensive and detailed information on supply chain human rights and working conditions available to everyone. It is a project centered at New Earth, a not-for-profit focused on information systems for sustainability.  A key aspect of the project has been to ensure that users have full transparent access to information about working conditions and impacts and global supply chains, and also about the hundreds of sources used as well as the methods used to characterize risks within the SHDB. It is a follow-up initiative to the United Nations Environment Programme – SETAC, Social LCA Guidelines. Social Life Cycle Assessment is a technique to study the social impacts of products life cycle from extraction of raw material to final disposal. If you would like to read more about Social Life Cycle Assessment please visit our publication section.

Since 2010, the SHDB project has offered a “user portal” in its website, allowing users to browse data on social risks by sector, or by country, or by risk theme. An updated version of that data portal is being released in March 2013.  The data comprehensively address social issues, human rights, working conditions, community impacts and governance issues, via a set of nearly 150 risk indicators grouped within 22 themes.  Risks are also expressed, whenever relevant, by sector. The project as grown since 2009 and offers additional tools, advisory services and a Linkedin discussion forum.


Thanks to our early supporters: WalMart, The Sustainability Consortium, ECPAR, UNEP, University of New Hampshire and Carnegie Mellon university and to all interns and research assistants that devoted their time, energy and ideas to this project–Shannon Rogers, Susan Overaker, Gina Vickery-Niederman, Caroline Hallisey-Kepka, Isabelle Altman, Nick Tamblyn, Andrea Diaz, He Wan, Cesar Teran, and Christopher Baker. Thanks also to private donors supporting global human rights for their essential help in creating this interactive website.

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