Sydney Catholic Archdiocese Modern Slavery Forum and Expo
I was invited to join a panel of experts at a Modern Slavery Forum attended by over 200 people, including many suppliers to the Catholic Archdiocese. I discussed a number of gaps and opportunities for Australian businesses to better manage human rights and modern slavery risks to help them meet customer expectations as well as State and Commonwealth modern slavery reporting requirements. You can read more in our blog.
Women, Gender and Law Course, UNSW
As part of my Master of Human Rights Law & Policy I undertook a two-week intensive course in Pune, India. Hosted by the ILS Law College the course included 20 local students and 20 law students from UNSW. The discussion was rich and diverse and addressed topics such as marriage, adoption, abortion, LGBTI, sex work and commercial surrogacy from an Australian and Indian perspective. We learned so much from each other and while there are obvious cultural, legal and socio-economic differences between the two countries, one thing became clear. All of us attending the course are passionate about creating a more just and equitable global society. I will take much of what I learned into my work and personal life.
St Vincent’s Health Australia (SVHA) Modern Slavery Audits
We worked closely with Mills Oakley and SVHA for four months to assess SVHA’s top 50 clinical goods suppliers for human rights and modern slavery risks. In December 2018 we completed detailed supplier risk reports highlighting issues and recommendations that will assist these businesses meet SVHA expectations and their own reporting requirements under the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act. Our summary report for SVHA clearly identifies gaps and opportunities and provides recommendations for moving forward. Ongoing supplier education and industry collaboration is critical to effectively identify and manage modern slavery risks in the complex, global clinical supply chain.
Local Government SDG Review and Guideline
We’re excited to be working with the Office of Environment & Heritage to develop a user-friendly guideline to assist local councils integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their planning and reporting processes. Our guideline is based on comprehensive national and international research (including interviews with leading councils) and proposes 5 key steps to help local councils align their community priorities with the SDGs. Stay tuned for the launch of the guideline in early 2019.
Mirgrant Worker Justice Initiative (MWJI) Research Team
I am super excited to be part of the team at the Migrant Worker Justice Initiative working on a research study addressing the exploitation of international students in accommodation and at work. Funded as a Partner Project by StudyNSW, the project will enable education providers across the NSW VET, ELICOS and higher education sectors to more effectively deliver information on employment and housing that assists students to avoid and address exploitation.
The research includes focus groups and a survey of international students, and collation of the views of project partners and other student-facing stakeholders across the international education sector.
Identifying Supply Chain Best Practice
November was a month of new research initiatives for me. I joined the Australian Human Rights Institute as a Research Associate to evaluate how regulatory disclosure initiatives can improve human rights enforcement within supply chains. The aim of the research is threefold: to identify corporate drivers for human rights due diligence and legislative compliance related to modern slavery disclosure; to understand corporate perceptions of human rights practice in supply chains and to explore links between corporate supply chain transparency and accountability and better human rights outcomes.
Bin Trim Assessor Training Course
The Bin Trim program provides free help and support to NSW businesses to maximise their recycling and minimise their waste to landfill. We were engaged by the NSW EPA to develop and deliver five full day training courses for 75 waste assessors working with businesses across NSW. The highly interactive training course provided trainees with a comprehensive overview of the new Bin Trim web application and enabled assessors to enter scenario-based data to consolidate their learning. We look forward to some great waste reduction results from NSW businesses!
Shoalhaven City Council Strategic Sustainability Review
Shoalhaven City Council (SCC) has undertaken some positive environmental initiatives over recent years. However a restructure and change in staff meant that the momentum for sustainability projects had been lost. We undertook a Strategic Review of SCC’s sustainability programs and made a number of recommendations for better integration of sustainability initiatives across council’s diverse operations. The review has provided a great starting point for council to identify and implement priority sustainability projects in a more integrated manner.
My husband and I took three weeks off in July to ride our motorbikes (the trusted Suzuki DR 650’s) from Sydney to Katherine in the Northern Territory. After relaxing in the hot springs for a couple of days, we headed east along the bumpy, corrugated and oh so dusty Savannah Way towards Cairns and Cooktown. What a ride! We met wonderful locals, explored canyons and gorges, rode through ‘crocodile infested’ rivers, watched the sunset into the Gulf of Carpentaria and ate amazing locally caught seafood. We camped under the stars, washed in rivers (being careful to avoid any encounters with the local wildlife) and celebrated all that was good in the world. We live in an amazing country!
Virgin Australia Airlines Modern Slavery Workshop
As part of the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program, I was engaged to conduct a modern slavery risk workshop and company-wide gap analysis for Virgin Australia Airlines. The workshop was attended by key personnel representing CSR, sustainability, risk and compliance, legal and procurement. Our gap analysis tool promoted great discussion and debate on how well modern slavery was integrated into existing business systems, procurement and supply chain processes, risk management frameworks and HR and recruitment systems. It also promoted discussion on customer/stakeholder expectations around modern slavery and human rights risk management. A draft modern slavery action plan was developed based on the gap analysis outcomes.
Great to have the opportunity to discuss modern slavery issues and the Federal Modern Slavery Bill on ABC Radio Perth with Associate Professor of Justine Nolan from the University of NSW Faculty of Law.
The 50 minute interview defines modern slavery and discusses where it is hidden in our every day lives. Hear a fisherman from Ghana tell his story of being trapped in slavery on a fishing vessel in Ghana.
Justine outlines details of the Australian Modern Slavery Bill and I provide guidance on what businesses will need to put in place to prepare for the new legislation.
Click here to listen to the interview.
We invite you to view this explainer video which is based on a supply chain risk presentation I gave recently to a group of businesses in Sydney, Australia.
Key take-aways from the meeting included:
Businesses are taking this issue seriously but need to better identify roles, responsibilities and accountabilities in their organisations.
Government support, resourcing and clear guidance is critical for businesses to comply with the changing regulatory framework.
Business sectors need to collaborate more effectively to streamline supplier audit processes and share audit findings.
A multi-stakeholder approach involving NGOs, Government, local authorities and business will encourage sharing of knowledge andresult in better outcomes.
We have put together a short video explainer on the New South Wales (NSW) Modern Slavery Act.
The NSW Modern Slavery Bill was passed through Parliament on 21st June 2018. This State-based legislation is in addition to the proposed Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act which is expected to become law in late 2018. It is anticipated that commercial organisations who are required to report under a corresponding Commonwealth law, will not be required to report under the NSW Act.
The video outlines:
What organisations are captured by the Act
Key parts of the Act relevant to businesses
What businesses need to do to comply with its requirements (particularly in relation to submitting Modern Slavery Statements)
Let us know if you need more information or if we can help.
We published our new SD Strategies promotional video.
It covers our key competencies, how we work with our clients and what drives us.
We hope you like it and share it around if you like!
SD Strategies presented a guest lecture and workshop on modern slavery to 60 future hotel managers at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Leura NSW.
The workshop was delivered on behalf of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advantage program and reflects the program's commitment to assisting businesses prepare for the Australian Modern Slavery Act.
It was inspiring to help students document the actions they could take to help #endslavery in the hotel and hospitality industry.
The battle for sustainability will be won or lost in cities. To achieve a prosperous, productive and sustainable NSW, growing issues around inclusion, liveability and resilience must be tackled head-on. Finding scalable solutions to these challenges is at the heart of Agenda 2030 (the Sustainable Development Goals) and the New Urban Agenda—and a key focus of NSW 2021, the Premier’s Priorities, and local council strategies.
The forum addressed three of NSW’s most pressing wicked problems: providing better, more inclusive access to housing and basic services, creating clean, resource-efficient and liveable communities and building resilient, low-carbon urban economies.
It's no secret that the ICT sector is an "at risk" sector when it comes to modern slavery risks. Global modern slavery challenges for the sector include:
traceability of minerals
lack of enforcement in sourcing and manufacturing countries
competitive pricing of consumer products
long supply chains and complex worker recruitment systems
lack of unionisation
vulnerable groups of workers (eg migrant workers, small scale minors)
Along with panel presenters Jenny Stanger (Salvation Army Freedom Partnership) and Justine Nolan (UNSW), we discussed these and other issues and challenges at an ICT sector cluster meeting held in February. The meeting was facilitated by the NSW OEH Sustainability Advantage program. #endslavery
It's been a busy few months as Australian businesses prepare for the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act which includes mandatory reporting requirements.
In partnership with Jenny Stanger (Salvation Army Freedom Partnership) and Luke Geary (Partner Mills Oakley - formerly Salvos Legal) SD Strategies has been developing tools and resources to help businesses understand, identify and act upon the modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.
Check out our website and resources here. #endslaverysolutions
When Salvos Legal won a contract to undertake modern slavery audits of five major suppliers in an aged care provider's supply chain in late 2017, they engaged SD Strategies to prepare the reporting framework, review and finalise the audit report and provide recommendations.
A risk-based audit and reporting approach was used and suppliers were scored on their performance against a number of criteria, including their human rights management systems and policies, working hours and conditions for workers, recruitment processes and overall performance against the Ethical Trading Initiative's Base Code.
The audit was seen as a value-add for the client, with recommendations paving the way for improvements in the management of supply chain human rights risks.