November 30, 2020 / Engagement and Advocacy
SOME 40 million people are victims of modern slavery according to human rights organisation Anti-Slavery International — and investors have an important role to play in reducing this number.
Modern Slavery refers to human trafficking and slavery-like practices such as servitude, forced labour, child labour, deceptive recruiting, forced marriage and debt bondage.
Responsible investment leader Regnan engages with organisations on behalf of clients to help them comply with the Australian Modern Slavery Act (2018) — and support actions to eradicate these practices.
Progress on modern slavery
Given the importance of collaboration in addressing the issue, Regnan reports details of its modern slavery engagements, including observations on early practice and the challenges ahead.
Since May 2018 we’ve engaged with 24 companies on this issue including BlueScope Steel, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coles, Fortescue Metals, Lendlease, National Australia Bank, Qantas, Rio Tinto, Suncorp Group, Sydney Airport, Tabcorp, Westpac and Woolworths.
While it’s still early days, we’ve observed better practice in many companies including:
- Use of multi-disciplinary teams to set the foundation for a comprehensive and embedded response
- Collaboration within value chains, in industry initiatives or with companies in other jurisdictions
- Consolidation of suppliers to facilitate deeper scrutiny of modern slavery risks
- A commitment to encourage and support improved practices among existing suppliers in preference to ending commercial relationships
- Upskilling of employees likely to be the primary contact for suppliers or customers who play an important role in early detection
- Where external support has been sought, leading companies have been actively involved in promoting effective knowledge transfer on modern slavery
- Unannounced audits.
Regnan has a long history of seeking change in companies on behalf of investor clients — usually in relation to environmental, social or governance issues.
In our modern slavery work, we engage with S&P/ASX200 listed companies to develop improved practices for the benefit of the business, its investors and victims of slavery.
Regnan is a responsible investment leader with a long and proud history of providing insight and advice to investors with an interest in long-term, broad-based or values-aligned performance.
Building on that expertise, in 2019 Regnan expanded into responsible investment funds management, backed by the considerable resources of Pendal Group.
For more information, please contact Head of Regnan and Responsible Investment Distribution Jeremy Dean at [email protected].