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.”