Is modern slavery hiding in your supply chain?

The Global Slavery Index estimates that there are 45.8 million people in modern slavery. A new eight stage action programme – APRES, has been released by the Building Research Establishment to support the responsible and ethical sourcing of materials, products and people.

This call to action has been created in partnership with Loughborough University and presents eight pathways to best practice to combat modern slavery and unethical practices in supply chains.

Professor Jacqui Glass, Chair of Architecture and Sustainable Construction at Loughborough University and APRES programme leader, said, “UK public scrutiny of employment standards and labour rights intensified significantly in 2015 with the introduction of the Living Wage and the Modern Slavery Act.

“It seemed inevitable that tough questions would start getting asked about organisations’ and companies’ ethical policies and practices. In construction, known for its long and complex global supply chains, these questions do not simply stop at the entrance to the building site, or even the UK border.

“The APRES Eight Pathways Model is an important new contribution to knowledge. It builds on academic research, market intelligence, co-created insights, plus sound management systems and practices from some of the leaders in the field. It answers the fundamental question – how do I embed the right practices in my business?”

The pathways are based on the critical areas of operation in a business: from initial policy-making, via compliance, right through to PR and continuous improvement. The journey to take an organisation from where it is now on responsible and ethical sourcing to where it ultimately wants to be, begins with some very practical steps.

Dr Shamir Ghumra, Director Sustainable Products at BRE, the home of APRES, said, “Accountability is an absolute must for supply-chain excellence and sustainable procurement in the 21st century – the pressure from both public and commercial parties to demonstrate transparency and traceability is not going to go away. The APRES Eight Pathways Model holds the keys to progress and success.”

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