Stronger Together and the British Retail Consortium have issued the following press release:
A best practice toolkit to help consumer goods businesses tackle modern slavery in their global supply chains has been launched today by industry alliance Stronger Together[i].
Over 45 million people are subject to some form of slavery in the modern world today, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index report. This new guidance from Stronger Together, which can be downloaded for free from www.stronger2gether.org, will help businesses shape their response to this problem across their global supply chains[ii]. It will provide the consumer goods industry with practical resources and training based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework and help businesses to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act[iii] requirements.
Stronger Together who produced the toolkit, is a business-led collaborative initiative sponsored by the UK’s nine largest supermarkets and working with other key stakeholders.[iv] The toolkit is supported by interactive Stronger Together workshops led by labour rights experts from the retail sector who have implemented programmes and projects to tackle human rights issues across the globe.
The supermarkets have also agreed ‘Common Principles’ which they expect their supply chain partners to adhere to when they report under the Modern Slavery Act. These Common Principles support the UK Governments objectives for introducing the legislation and are in line with the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s position on reporting.[v]
Kevin Hyland, UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner: “The Modern Slavery Act, with its transparency in supply chain section, has served as a call to arms to businesses on the need to proactively tackle modern slavery. But what really matters is how businesses respond to this call. Initiatives such as Stronger Together, providing resources that are led by members of businesses themselves, have the power to positively change culture and practice.
We need to shift away from profit being viewed as the sole measure of success, rather, success must be viewed through the lens of long term sustainable growth, and the ethical treatment of workers is central to this. I encourage all businesses to see the Modern Slavery Act’s reporting requirements as a catalyst for innovation and change and to uses resources such as those provided by Stronger Together to help ensure that none of their profits are created at the expense of human lives.”
David Camp, Programme Lead, Stronger Together: “We encourage every business in the UK to be proactive about mitigating the risks of modern slavery in their own operations and supply chain. Each one of the 45.8 million people currently in modern slavery, is a man, woman or child with a face and a story. Registering on our website gives businesses of any size access, at no charge, to pragmatic resources to support them in eradicating human trafficking, forced labour and other forms of modern slavery from their businesses and supply chains.”
Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability Policy, British Retail Consortium: “This latest tool from the Stronger Together initiative builds on existing retailer best practice on responsible sourcing and is specifically designed to tackle criminal activity that exploits vulnerable workers in supply chains. It demonstrates the commitment businesses have to end all forms of modern slavery wherever they may occur. However business action needs the support from wider stakeholder engagement and strong government enforcement, in order to be fully effective.”
Nick Hutter, Responsible Sourcing Manager, BerryWorld UK: “A good, clear step by step guide to complying with modern slavery requirements. Just what this complex issue needs.”
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Jantine Werdmüller von Elgg
Notes to Editors:
[i] Stronger Together is established and equipped to support business to understand their responsibilities in the fight against modern slavery and provide them with the tools, resources and training needed to address this in their businesses and supply chains. For more information, visit www.stronger2gether.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
[iii] The UK Modern Slavery Act came into force in 2015 includes Section 54 which makes it a requirement for businesses with an annual turnover of over £36 million in the UK to publicly disclose the steps, if any, taken to ensure slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any part of its business or in its supply chains.
[iv] Stronger Together development partners are the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) and Migrant Help. The project sponsors are Aldi, Asda, Co-op Food, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. Its supporting partners are Anti-Slavery International, British Frozen Food Federation, British Retail Consortium, British Growers Association, Crimestoppers, Food & Drink Federation, Forced Labour Monitoring Group, International Organization for Migration, Recruitment & Employment Confederation, Salvation Army and Sedex.