A coalition of investors have demonstrated their support for the Find It, Fix It, Prevent It project by signing an investor statement. The investor statement supports three collaborative working groups which are taking action to encourage more effective corporate action on modern slavery.
Engagement with companies
A core part of the project is direct investor engagement with companies. This moves beyond existing engagement, that seeks to promote better policies and processes for addressing slavery, to focus on promoting more effective action.
Our starting point for these conversation is our conviction that most, if not all, companies have modern slavery somewhere within their supply chain. Therefore, the key question for the engagement is ‘have you found modern slavery in your supply chain this year?’. The answer to this question dictates whether the subsequent engagement focusses on encouraging the company to develop better processes for finding slavery or providing remedy to victims.
To facilitate effective engagement, detailed company briefings will be provided to the engagement group by the project’s NGO and academic partners throughout the engagement. This will allow the investors to gain an understanding of the key risks within company-specific supply chains.
A full set of engagement expectations have been produced to guide these conversations.
Whilst over time it is hoped that the programme will be rolled out to a larger number of companies, the initial focus will be 16 UK-listed companies within the ‘hospitality sector’. Companies will be allocated to investors on a ‘lead and support basis’ and the collaborating engagers will meet regularly to share progress and best practice.
Governments and public policy makers have a key role to play in developing the legal frameworks to facilitate effective corporate action of modern slavery. For this reason, the project will seek to co-ordinate engagement with UK and overseas policy makers to encourage regulation that ‘has teeth’, encourage reporting on the efficacy of anti-slavery efforts, and encourage mandatory human rights due diligence.
Our initial focus is on strengthening the UK Modern Slavery Act, in line with the joint submission already made to the UK Government’s Transparency in the Supply Chain consultation. This was co-ordinated by CCLA and Rathbones and was supported by a group of investors with collective assets under management of £2.4 trillion.
Data working group
We believe that a lack of readily available data is holding back the potential for investors to act on modern slavery. For this reason, the project will bring together investors, academics and NGOs to develop better indicators and encourage the standard ESG data providers to include them within their standard Rating products.
In addition, project partner, The University of Nottingham Rights Lab will draw on the collaborative engagement as a case study with the aim to facilitate academic research and publications that contribute to knowledge about what is, and what is not, effective in corporate action on slavery.