Editor, UBM

February 16, 2017

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Modern slavery – be part of the cure, not the problem

More than 45.8 million people are in a form of modern slavery across 167 countries today, according to estimates from the Global Slavery Index.

Over half of that number come from five countries in particular: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.

Several of these countries, provide low-cost labour for markets in Western Europe, Japan, North America and Australia.

Businesses are being urged, by Arco, a leading safety company in the UK, to ask suppliers within their supply chain about their ethical assurance measures.

In particular, they are urging to question due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in their business and supply chains.

Arco has created a short video raising awareness of Modern Day Slavery, speaking on behalf of people bound by the international crime.

Recommendations for businesses

Arco, which was the first distributor to become a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative in 2007, has made a number of recommendations to businesses who buy safety equipment, in order to raise awareness and guide businesses to ensure ethical compliance:

  • Ask suppliers about their supply chain and the factories manufacturing their products and services.
  • Ask suppliers about their ethical policy and due diligence processes.
  • Ask to see and have explained a supplier’s public statement any company that has a UK turnover greater than £36m and falls under the Modern Slavery Act is obliged to publish a statement,
  • Be sure about your own supply chain by using suppliers that are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative or equivalent organisations.

By working with suppliers with a robust ethical strategy, the task of risk assessing the supply chain is simplified and provides assurance that you are working with businesses that you can trust to do the utmost they can to address this issue.

Danny Hobson, Ethical and Quality Improvement Manager at Arco, says: “Arco takes its responsibilities very seriously and that is why we continue to develop and improve our ethical sourcing strategy.

“We welcome the introduction of the Modern Slavery act and the emphasis that this will put on transparency in the supply chains throughout the safety industry.

“Through collaboration and with each business taking responsibility then we can make a real difference in protecting the most vulnerable workers and improving worker welfare.”

Hobson concludes: “It’s important that companies have detailed awareness of their supply chain and continue to drive improvements where necessary.”

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