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Tackling modern day slavery in the supply chain

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, released in June, 45.8 million people worldwide are trapped in some form of slavery.

In the UK alone, the number is estimated to be 11,700 – many of whom are migrants forced to work in poor and dangerous conditions. The situation in construction, where those people may have no training, is particularly dangerous.

As a way to combat slavery, the Modern Slavery Act was amended in 2015 to protect vulnerable people. The law requires all firms with a turnover of £36 million or over, which covers the UK’s main contractors, to report with complete transparency on the steps they’re taking to reduce slavery within their supply chain.

With this mandate, the onus is now on industry leaders to tackle slavery in all of its guises across every aspect of the complex international supply chain, including labour and materials procurement, where abuses are especially prominent.

One of the many positive steps being taken includes work by The British Research Establishment (BRE), which has announced it is developing the Ethical Labour Standard to provide organisations with a framework to verify their systems and processes in relation to the Modern Slavery Act and improve their ethical labour sourcing practices.

Furthermore, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is creating a toolkit for those construction companies that use migrant labour, which will investigate the root causes of modern slavery and areas of good practice

Constructionline can help you avoid slavery in your supply chain

Alongside the many other steps the industry is taking to eradicate modern slavery, Constructionline ensures that due diligence takes top priority.

We have carried questions that supplier members need to complete in order to be visible on Constructionline and comply with the Government’s anti-slavery legislation, with questions that require full disclosure of their employees’ eligibility to work in the UK for some time.

Clients that search Constructionline will have a complete access to the data held on more than 30,000 contractors, consultants and material suppliers, including details of their action taken to eradicate slavery in their workforce, where appropriate. Using this information to support their procurement decision making process, clients will have a better view over the suppliers they choose to work with in their supply chain.

More recently, we have developed three distinct question sets for material suppliers and manufacturers, consultants and contractors, which make it even easier for suppliers to provide the most important information to address modern slavery in the supply chain.

To discover how Constructionline can help your business meet ethical labour requirements, click here. In addition, more information on the Modern Slavery act is available via our partners – the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

02 Aug 2016