How we uncovered exploitative labour practices


Mid-cap private equity firm



In a market teeming with investment opportunities, discerning the right choice demands a deep understanding of the potential risks and rewards. Our client, a midcap private-equity firm with a strong ethical foundation, was considering an investment in an FMCG company known for its low-cost products. This company had established a substantial market share, appealing to a broad consumer base through cost-effective strategies. Due to the potential for reputational damage and legal complications arising from undisclosed unethical practices, our client approached us, seeking a comprehensive due diligence investigation.


The private-equity firm faced a significant challenge: to conduct a detailed due diligence investigation that would delve deep into the internal practices of the target company, scrutinizing not just its market reputation but also the experiences of those who had worked behind its doors. Operating outside the traditional M&A data room, the firm sought to uncover any undisclosed issues that could potentially affect the investment adversely. The task was to navigate a complex landscape of information, where the stakes were high, and the firm’s reputation for ethical investments hung in the balance.


To address this challenge, we devised a solution grounded in our expertise in corporate intelligence and investigations. The cornerstone of our methodology was engaging with confidential sources to gather deep insights into the company’s operations and culture:

  1. Confidential Source Engagement: Leveraging our extensive network, we identified and reached out to a range of confidential sources, including current and former employees, to gather firsthand accounts of the working conditions at the company. These interviews were conducted with the utmost discretion to protect the identities of our sources while ensuring the authenticity of the information gathered.
  2. Allegation Verification: Following the identification of potential issues through our initial engagements, we undertook a meticulous process of verification. This involved cross-referencing the information obtained from different sources to build a comprehensive and accurate picture of the internal practices at the company.
  3. Contextual Analysis: Beyond just gathering data, we analyzed the information in the broader context of the industry standards and the company’s historical practices. This allowed us to identify patterns and trends, including a shift towards the use of low-grade materials in manufacturing.

Our approach enabled us to unearth indications of questionable labor standards, including allegations of unpaid overtime work. The confidential insights provided a rich tapestry of information, painting a detailed picture of the potential risks associated with the investment.

Armed with this robust data, we presented our findings to the client, offering them a deep understanding of the target company’s operational landscape. Our investigative due diligence empowered the client to approach the negotiation table with a position of strength, grounded in facts and detailed insights, thereby facilitating a more informed and secure investment decision. Through our meticulous methodology, we safeguarded our client from a potentially precarious investment, steering them towards a path of ethical and sustainable growth.

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