I learnt more about the horrors and crimes against humanity committed by Europeans through looking around a building opposite the family home of my partner than I did in school. My partner grew up a few hundred meters away from the entrance of Cape Coast Castle, one of forty “slave castles” built in West Africa. In nearby Elmina Castle the notorious “door of no return” now has “the door of return” emblazoned on the other side.
We should all be born into a system that validates and reaffirms that we are individuals with the same rights and freedoms. Modern slavery denies far too many people’s basic rights and no freedom. The UK Government described modern slavery as a “brutal form of organised crime in which people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain”, which “takes a number of forms, including sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude”. According to the Global Slavery Index 2018, it is estimated that on any given day in 2016, there were 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia. This represents 0.6 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people in the country.
Pursuant to the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018, entities based in Australia, which have annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million are required to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and actions to address those risks. The proposed NSW act goes further, applying to businesses with $50 million in turnover, creating an anti-slavery commissioner, and containing penalties for non-compliance. Most organisations will have robust internal processes to determine the specific criteria required to report compliance with the Modern Slavery Act. While organisations grapple with responding to the legislation, Procurement can take a giant leap forward demonstrating that we CARE…
- start talking about Modern Slavery in team meetings so everyone in Procurement understands the extent of the horrific crime learning what individuals, teams and organisations can do to end the terrible practice.
- raise awareness by discussing it with your stakeholders and suppliers helping small business prepare to comply with the Modern Slavery Act.
- create and implement a change management plan.
- collaborate and share knowledge with your suppliers, competitors and peers.
- assess your policies, agreements, frameworks and supply chain against industry best practice and action all deficiencies identified in the assessment.
- Incorporate effective actions to help eradicate Modern Slavery into your Corporate Social Responsibility Programs.
Report and Evaluate
- develop service measures and ongoing monitoring capabilities
- review and track suppliers’ adherence to the legislation under your governance framework and activities.
- let your customers and suppliers know what you are doing.
- conduct appropriate due diligence on all existing and future high-risk suppliers especially where people are performing services offshore.
Consumer pressure and the buying power of Procurement has a greater impact on influencing meaningful change than making companies comply with any legal framework.
How importantly does your organisation take the topic of human rights?
To what extent has your organisation established the capability and skills required to truly make a difference?