The Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) ("MSA") is having a knock-on effect in the market. Small and Medium Enterprises ("SME") that serve as Tier 1 suppliers to larger companies and government departments are increasingly being asked complete a self-assessment questionnaire ("SAQ") about what policies they have in place to ensure there is no slavery or exploitation in their organisation. However, not everyone is ready. Are you?
The emergence of ESG reporting (Environmental, Social and Governance) at the top of town is being driven by investor and customer demands. ESG Reporting might seems like a 'good to have' but in reality it's becoming a 'must have'. Of the myriad issues and compliance mechanisms on the table, the MSA provide a great foundation to build on. To be compliant requires a bit of planing to strategically integrate the actions required into your business as usual.
One of the main features of the average SAQ is around policies. What policy do you have in place around workplace safety, contracts, and wages? What is your position on human rights generally and modern slavery specifically. Being policy ready gives you a licence to operate.
The MSA calls upon large entities to report on the risk of modern slavery in the goods and services they source from suppliers in Australia and overseas. A large scale 1,500+ supplier risk assessment exercise may be more than you need right now. However, you can develop a plan to assess the products you buy and make a choice to source ethically. A good strategy for this is to ethically source in stages by product category. This quarter its food and beverages. Next quarter its stationery. This will give you time to research brands and see what companies are doing to address modern slavery risks.