On 16 February 2017, a best practice toolkit was launched by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and industry alliance Stronger Together to help the construction industry tackle modern slavery in its global supply chains.
It is estimated that there are more than 45 million people subject to modern slavery in the world today. The new guidance, which can be downloaded free from www.stronger2gether.org, aims to help construction businesses shape their response to the problem, both in their own operations and across their global supply chains.
The toolkit is part of a specialist, in-depth industry programme supporting construction companies in tackling modern slavery. The programme will provide the construction sector and its clients with practical resources and training based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework and help businesses comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act.
The construction sector is particularly vulnerable to modern slavery because of its fragmented supply chain, opaque procurement processes and high demand for migrant labour. This means that supply chains can conceal human rights abuses and exploitation.
The programme follows on from ‘Building a fairer system’, a CIOB report launched in July 2016, which examined how workers are abused in ways such as forced or bonded labour, late payment, unsanitary living conditions, unfair deductions from wages, withheld passports, loss of freedom of movement, lack of representation, violence, intimidation and physical abuse.
The UK Modern Slavery Act, which came into force in 2015, requires UK organisations with a turnover of more than £36 million to publicly report how they are dealing with human rights issues in their supply chains.
CIOB and Stronger Together are now inviting construction companies and clients to become construction sector project sponsors to pioneer this multi-stakeholder initiative.
Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland OBE said; “The collaborative way of working between CIOB and Stronger Together is highly effective. Their decision to provide this resource free of charge is commendable. I hope that those within the construction sector take advantage of this insightful toolkit and ultimately put a stop to the crime of modern slavery within supply chains.”
CIOB Chief Executive Chris Blythe OBE said; “CIOB’s core values are founded on the principles of ethical business behaviour. Firms that take up and implement this toolkit demonstrate their commitment to ending modern slavery, wherever it may occur. The toolkit and wider programme are there to help raise awareness of modern slavery, identify exploitation and then provide the support for businesses to deal with it responsibly through guidance and good practice.”