Ten resources companies have joined together to develop a practical toolkit to screen for modern slavery risks within supply chains.Participating companies include Fortescue Metals Group; Anglo American; INPEX; Gold Fields; CITIC Pacific Mining; Iluka Resources; Western Power; Synergy; ATCO and South32. Central to the toolkit is a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) with 18 core questions to ask suppliers to help identify modern slavery risks, improve transparency and recognise areas for further due diligence. Suppliers are facing growing information requests due to modern slavery laws in Australia and the United Kingdom. By asking a common set of questions, this will streamline reporting and provide consistency and clarity. “Our commitment to our stakeholders is clear: modern slavery is unacceptable within our operations and supply chain,” South32 Chief Sustainability Officer, Rowena Smith said. “To tackle this, we collaborate with industry, government and the community to understand the risks and issues, knowing that together, we are stronger.”
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, Jason Wood, welcomed the initiative. “It is vital that large businesses work collaboratively with their business partners and suppliers to combat modern slavery,” he said.“This innovative industry approach is an important step towards eradicating modern slavery from our supply chains.” Human rights group Walk Free Foundation estimates that modern slavery affects more than 40 million people globally. “We commend the design of this open-source document that supports the mandatory reporting requirements of the Australian Modern Slavery Act,” Walk Free Chief Executive Officer Jenn Morris said. “This approach reduces the administration of monitoring yet increases the efficiency and effectiveness of driving better outcomes in identifying the risks of modern slavery. By working together, the group aims to help end modern slavery and advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 to ‘promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’.” The toolkit includes a supplier self-assessment questionnaire; frequently asked questions; and Walk Free Foundation guidance referred to as “Understanding Modern Slavery”. These documents will be available in 4 languages (English, Mandarin, Spanish and Japanese). The toolkit is open source and can be downloaded from www.baliprocessbusiness.org. Interested companies are encouraged to use this toolkit. The toolkit is launched as a pilot program and will be regularly reviewed. The initiative excludes collaboration relating to supplier selection, which continues to rely on the decision of individual companies.