Do organisations need to do more than just comply with the Modern Slavery Act? If so, what?
For companies, going “beyond compliance” might mean implementing new strategies or adopting new approaches:
The commitment of the company’s leadership to making change is key. Allocating responsibility and setting metrics are ways that the leadership team can make clear how seriously it is taking the problem.
Undertaking assessments of the likely social impact of any actions that the company takes. For example, a “compliance” mindset might be to terminate a supplier contract the moment that modern slavery is identified. A kneejerk reaction like this might be more detrimental (it might force the immediate closure of a factory, pushing workers further into poverty). A more positive approach might be to work with the supplier on remediation and improving standards.
Building relationships with NGOs who work in high-risk markets where companies source goods. NGOs can help with risk identification or assessment, and be a source of local advice on remediation if modern slavery is found.
Raising staff awareness and understanding through training and internal communications. Some companies have organised for staff to visit areas from where products are sourced, to gain first hand experience of the problems. Staff who understand the “why” of compliance are more likely to be motivated to push for change and improvement.
Read this complete article written by Michael Milnes, head of commercial and competition law at Practical Law Australia.