Take Action on Trafficking and Forced Labour

In partnership with Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) and ECCR corporate members – Us (formerly USPG) and Rathbone Greenbank – ECCR recently released the report ‘Forced Labour, Human Trafficking & The FTSE 100’.

As the Modern Slavery Act 2015 comes into force, companies face unprecedented scrutiny in ensuring their supply chains are free from forced labour and human trafficking. New guidance, within the report gives faith investors the knowledge to challenge companies and ensure they are working to the highest standards in this area and in so doing, help protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The questions below are questions that faith investors can ask in order to hold companies to account in this area.

Suggested Questions for Companies
The following questions can be directed at companies by shareholders, pension fund investors or investment managers:

  • What steps are you taking to ensure compliance with the Modern Slavery Act?
  • What actions have you taken to evaluate and address the risks of forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and child labour within your product supply chains?
  • What policies have you put in place to identify and elimi-nate risks of forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and child labour within your supply chains, and what actions have you taken in relation to, or in the absence of, such policies?
  • How will you ensure that audits of suppliers within your supply chains are conducted to investigate working condi-tions and labour practices and to verify whether suppliers have systems in place to identify risks of forced labour, slavery, human trafficking and child labour within their own supply chains?
  • How will you manage your suppliers to ensure that the manufacture of products and the recruitment of labour is carried out in compliance with applicable legislation re-garding forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and child labour?
  • What steps have you taken to establish and maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for employees or contractors that fail to meet company standards regarding forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and child labour?
  • What training have you provided to your employees and personnel with direct responsibility for supply chain management regarding forced labour, slavery, human traffick-ing, and child labour?
  • How will you ensure that labour recruitment practices comply with corporate policies and/or efforts to eliminate practices that contribute to forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and child labour?
  • How will you ensure that remediation is provided to those who have been identified as victims of forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and the worst forms of child labour within your supply chains?

Suggested Questions for Fund Managers and Pension Fund Trustees
If your investments are held by investment managers or pension funds, you can ask the following questions to ascer-tain the extent to which they are raising concerns about forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and the worst forms of child labour with the companies in which they in-vest your money. This will encourage them to do more in this respect.

  • What are you doing to ensure that the company in which you are investing on my behalf is taking adequate measures to ensure that forced labour, slavery, human trafficking and child labour are not present within its supply chain?
  • With how many companies have you raised concerns or asked questions about the risk of forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, and child labour either within their own operations and/or those of their suppliers?
  • In what ways have you engaged with companies on the issue of modern slavery?
  • How will you be monitoring companies’ compliance with the Modern Slavery Act?
  • In what ways have you engaged with national and interna-tional policy makers on business and human rights agendas?
  • What industries and asset classes do you consider to be higher risk for the incidence of modern slavery?

Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and the FTSE 100

In partnership with Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) and ECCR corporate members – Us (formerly USPG) and Rathbone Greenbank – the report ‘Forced Labour, Human Trafficking & The FTSE 100’ was launched today – November 20th – at the Financial Times building.

As the Modern Slavery Act 2015 comes into force, companies face unprecedented scrutiny in ensuring their supply chains are free from forced labour and human trafficking. New guidance, within the report gives faith investors the knowledge to challenge companies and ensure they are working to the highest standards in this area and in so doing, help protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said “Modern slavery is a scourge that grossly undermines the inherent and God-given dignity of the human, and we must work urgently to eradicate it from our world. This report highlights that in our globalised economy, any business can be exposed to slavery through its supply chain. Companies that have conducted audits have been shocked to discover that they have been unwitting beneficiaries of slave labour. The transparency in supply chains measure in the Modern Slavery Act is a call to action that I urge British business to seize.”

The report provides a selection of representative industry examples and case studies which equips them with a greater understanding of the nature of human trafficking and forced labour risks in various sectors. Advice and guidance is given to investors and businesses on how these risks can be addressed and how companies can meet their corporate responsibilities.

Vincent Nicholls, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster said “Transparency in the supply chain and measures that prevent modern slavery and exploitation in business will help to change cultures to ensure that human dignity is protected in the workplace. The measurement of business success cannot be limited to profit margins. It has to be how we treat our fellow human being. The FTSE 100, having taken a clear position of respecting and protecting all workers linked to their supply chains, demonstrates how attitudes can change to create a better society, particularly for the poor and vulnerable who depend on their employers.”

The report recommends that investors make explicit their intention to support companies that will:

•    Appoint an individual board member to be accountable for Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Rights

•    Ensure Human Rights issues are included in the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

•    Create a Company Code of Conduct that specifically addresses human rights and provides clear guidance for all employees, suppliers and partners

•    Actively work with suppliers and partners to raise standards of compliance with its CSR and human rights policies

•    Continually measure performance against the company’s CSR and human rights policies and the risk of non-compliance by the company, its suppliers and partners, reviewing it at board level

•    Comply with the disclosure requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and clearly indicate the risk of human trafficking and forced labour within primary disclosure document

•    Provide quantitative and qualitative evidence of staff training and auditing together with their outcomes and impact

•    Ensure that progress being made through collaborative initiatives is clearly and regularly reported

•    Commit to developing an active reporting mechanisms to protect workers’ rights which are accessible, transparent and fully understood by workers

The report helps investors understand more about the issues, gives guidance on the type of questions that they can ask of their investment managers or directly to companies and provides companies with insights on best management practice.

The full report can be found here.

ECCR launches report on trafficking

In partnership with Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) and ECCR corporate members – Us (formerly USPG) and Rathbone Greenbank – the report ‘Forced Labour, Human Trafficking & The FTSE 100’ was launched today – November 20th – at the Financial Times building.

As the Modern Slavery Act 2015 comes into force, companies face unprecedented scrutiny in ensuring their supply chains are free from forced labour and human trafficking. New guidance, within the report gives faith investors the knowledge to challenge companies and ensure they are working to the highest standards in this area and in so doing, help protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said “Modern slavery is a scourge that grossly undermines the inherent and God-given dignity of the human, and we must work urgently to eradicate it from our world. This report highlights that in our globalised economy, any business can be exposed to slavery through its supply chain. Companies that have conducted audits have been shocked to discover that they have been unwitting beneficiaries of slave labour. The transparency in supply chains measure in the Modern Slavery Act is a call to action that I urge British business to seize.”

The report provides a selection of representative industry examples and case studies which equips them with a greater understanding of the nature of human trafficking and forced labour risks in various sectors. Advice and guidance is given to investors and businesses on how these risks can be addressed and how companies can meet their corporate responsibilities.

Vincent Nicholls, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster said “Transparency in the supply chain and measures that prevent modern slavery and exploitation in business will help to change cultures to ensure that human dignity is protected in the workplace. The measurement of business success cannot be limited to profit margins. It has to be how we treat our fellow human being. The FTSE 100, having taken a clear position of respecting and protecting all workers linked to their supply chains, demonstrates how attitudes can change to create a better society, particularly for the poor and vulnerable who depend on their employers.”

The report recommends that investors make explicit their intention to support companies that will:

•    Appoint an individual board member to be accountable for Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Rights

•    Ensure Human Rights issues are included in the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

•    Create a Company Code of Conduct that specifically addresses human rights and provides clear guidance for all employees, suppliers and partners

•    Actively work with suppliers and partners to raise standards of compliance with its CSR and human rights policies

•    Continually measure performance against the company’s CSR and human rights policies and the risk of non-compliance by the company, its suppliers and partners, reviewing it at board level

•    Comply with the disclosure requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and clearly indicate the risk of human trafficking and forced labour within primary disclosure document

•    Provide quantitative and qualitative evidence of staff training and auditing together with their outcomes and impact

•    Ensure that progress being made through collaborative initiatives is clearly and regularly reported

•    Commit to developing an active reporting mechanisms to protect workers’ rights which are accessible, transparent and fully understood by workers

The report helps investors understand more about the issues, gives guidance on the type of questions that they can ask of their investment managers or directly to companies and provides companies with insights on best management practice.

The full report can be found here.

Bishop Michael Doe, Chair of ECCR, said: “In a recent survey over 70% said that they would be unhappy if their money was invested in unethical business. That figure would be even higher if they found they were profiting from abusive labour practices and the treatment of people, including children, which amounts to present day slavery. All of us, and especially those of us who believe that every person is created equal with the right to a free and fulfilling life, need to know more and to act more decisively. That is what this report can help us to do.”

ECCR Bulletin: June 2013

This bulletin covered:

  • ECCR’s new strategy ‘Keeping Faith in Finance’
  • the background to ECCR’s work on Free, Prior and Informed Consent
  • the launch of the Ethical Money Churches project
  • ECCR’s action to protect vulnerable workers, including those affected by trafficking
  • an article by Christian Aid’s Joe Stead on the IF campaign, tax and transparency

Download the full bulletin in pdf: ECCR Bulletin June 2013

Hotels, Sex-Trafficking and London 2012

­This leaflet, written and researched by ECCR and commissioned by CCLA Investment Management, outlines how FTSE listed hotel companies can become implicated in the crime of human sex trafficking.  It shows what hotel groups Whitbread and Intercontinental Hotel Group are doing to respond to the problem and how ethical investors can help to address this issue in advance of the London Olympics
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Update: Engagement with Intercontinental Hotels Group and Whitbread over the year since the leaflet was published has shown how both companies have strengthened their approach to this issue and are members of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) which has published a position statement on human trafficking.  For more information read our update document.