Yesterday wasn’t just Election Day. It was also the day that the government consultation on the Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) clause came to a close. Whilst the details of the TISC clause continue to take shape, what should companies be thinking about? As it stands, the legal requirements as such may not seem particularly burdensome; however, this legislation should be seen as a prompt for companies to take stock of the prevalence of the issue in business supply chains and an opportunity to manage and minimise the associated business risks, including risk to operations and reputation/ brand. This is not to mention that legal requirements in this are also likely to become more stringent.
Here is a list that we have put together outlining 10 steps that companies should take to get a handle on modern slavery and human trafficking:
- Consider how a response to the MSA will fit within existing strategic objectives within the company, which may include adopting an approach to embed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
- Develop or update existing policies to address human rights issues, including slavery, forced and bonded labour, and human trafficking
- Identify relevant KPIs to monitor performance and help to ensure continuous improvement, for example:
- number of known incidents of slavery and human trafficking linked to the company either by its operations, business relationships or supply chain,
- percentage and number of suppliers engaged on the issue of human trafficking and slavery
- percentage and number of suppliers signed up to specific requirements included, for instance, in a code of conduct or contract
- percentage and number of staff trained on the issue of human trafficking and slavery
- Work with relevant personnel to map the supply chain and determine where suppliers operate
- Identify the main areas of risk relating to slavery and human trafficking: which of those countries and sectors pose a higher risk?
- Ensure that all employees are made aware of the policy, the business risks associated with the incidence of human trafficking and slavery in operations and the supply chain, and the heightened risk of human trafficking and slavery occurring when working through agents and other third parties
- Develop or update any existing checklists, pre-qualification questionnaires, and purchasing policies to require the procurement or purchasing department to engage with suppliers on slavery and human trafficking issues, for example, ensuring certain labour standards and good practices are being met, particularly in regions where there is a heightened risk or legal systems lack enforcement
- Develop or update supplier codes of conduct, tender requirements or any RFPs, and supplier contracts to account for the issue of slavery and human trafficking, including, for example, requirements on meeting minimum labour standards in their supply chain,
- develop or update due diligence procedures to incorporate the risk of slavery and human trafficking, to be engaged in any merger or acquisition or partnership or joint venture process
- Make training on slavery and human trafficking available to staff