How to Stop the Rise of Modern Slavery Being Uncovered in Your Supply Chain During the Pandemic

By STAR-Index

Recently it was reported in the press that a company in Leicester – so close to our office – was forcing their workforce to work during lockdown in unsafe conditions.

Consumers were in uproar and it was spread over social media in a matter of minutes. However this is only 1 case out of potentially 1000’s that go unseen every day in every sector of industry.

Supply chains are rife with modern slavery and it is predicted that cases could increase dramatically due to the pandemic. It calls into question how many businesses have control to ensure Procurement ethics are adhered to?

 “I think as a result of Covid-19 and the economic downturn we are going to see an increase (in human trafficking to the UK) because as the economy shrinks and as people become more vulnerable, the risk of exploitation increases.”

Unseen UK chief executive Andrew Wallis 

Justine Currell, the charity’s executive director, say’s that exploitative bosses are likely to tap into vulnerabilities and make the most of the impending recession.

A recent quote in the Telegraph by Justine Currel – Executive Director of Unseen, paints a brutal picture of life in the pandemic.

“We don’t worry about where they’re coming from because we need them quickly, or the quality of what’s being produced as well as who’s being expected to produce it. But Unseen are telling businesses, don’t lessen your controls around due diligence just because of the pandemic.”

Justine Currel – Unseen Executive Director

With fears rising that we will see the repercussions of this for years to come, how can businesses stay in control and not lose sight of the issue?

Collaboration across all sectors of industry, NGO’s and government is vital to ending modern slavery.

Ethical procurement and supply chain responsibility is key to businesses doing their part to help eradicate slavery in their supply chains. For this to be achievable they must have full transparency in their supply chain.

Modern Slavery Statements are a legal requirement for businesses who turn over in excess of £36 million. Part of this requirement is to produce an annual statement which covers the following government recommended criteria;

  • Identify and explain all suppliers in their supply chain to gain full transparency as per Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act.
    Identify where the risk may be in their entire supply chain.
    Explain due diligence they have carried out.
    Set goals annually to help them identify and manage the risk in their chain.
    Annually report on progress of previous goals to demonstrate improvement.

Despite these being the recommended guidelines, many businesses are still churning out generic statements and claiming they cannot manage what they don’t know.

Is hiding behind the statement “…we didn’t know…” acceptable?

Is there too much virtue signalling and not enough action?

Ask yourself; would a failure in your responsible sourcing policies and ethical procurement – such as a modern slavery scandal – damage the value of your brand?

To avoid brand damage and effectively manage risk of modern slavery, businesses need access to real time, accurate data to give a view of risk and thereby create plans to mitigate risks.

It is not as complicated as it sounds….

STAR Index; The solution to help you map, mitigate and manage risk of slavery in your supply chain;

With today’s technology, businesses can manage their entire supply chain through simple to use, scalable and secure tools. 

Supply chain management software provides users with a snapshot of exactly what they are being supplied and by whom, making it much easier to manage

STAR Index engages your supply chain to deliver demonstrable improvements and allows you to map, manage and mitigate risks.

Users can tailor their own set of actions using an algorithm based on real and accurate insights from our assessments and audits, data sources and key performance indicators. These sources are complemented by a businesses own sources of data and are used to produce a STAR Index™ rating.

The rating gives a much clearer picture of where the biggest risk is hiding in supply chains.  The user can then focus their efforts on setting their suppliers relevant and measurable goals for improvement, with reporting on these duly used in their Modern Slavery Statement.

By demonstrating due diligence, based on ACTUAL data, the business can show via their Modern Slavery Statement that they are doing their upmost to ensure their supply chain is slave free.

Not only does this ensure Modern Slavery Act compliance it will also increase consumer confidence by showing consumers your brand cares about the people in the supply chain.

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