Now in its second year, the Award recognises companies that have set a gold standard in efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains. Winners will be announced at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual human rights conference, Trust Conference, on November 15 in London.
Adidas, Walmart, Nestlé and Barclays Plc are amongst the biggest global brands selected from a number of applicants spanning clothing and food retailers to hospitality companies. The winning companies will receive a sculpture by world-renowned artist Anish Kapoor, as well as the right to use the Stop Slavery Award logo for one year. The artwork, created by Kapoor especially for the initiative, was first unveiled at the inaugural Awards ceremony at last year’s conference.
“Corporations have a vital role to play in the fight against forced labour,” said Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Across corporate board rooms it is finally becoming evident that there is no business case for slavery, simply because there is no business case for poverty and for failing societies. While companies can outsource their supply chains, they cannot outsource their responsibility.
“Increased globalisation means nearly every multinational corporation is exposed to the risk of forced labour and human trafficking in its supply chain. Although we are far from eradicating slavery, this initiative aims to play a key role in encouraging and rewarding transparency in business. We think this shortlist of companies is a good step in the right direction and represents tremendous progress from last year.”
“Workers in the global supply chain should be recruited and employed responsibly. There is much still to be done, and I am proud of the work Walmart is doing in collaboration with others who believe, as we do, that worker dignity is important,” said Jan Saumweber, Senior Vice President of Responsible Sourcing at Walmart. “It is truly an honour to be recognised for our work to help combat forced labour and to be shortlisted in such great company.”
Paul Gerrard, Group Policy and Campaigns Director of The Co-operative Group added: “The Co-op is delighted to have been shortlisted for the Stop Slavery Awards, which are a great way of identifying and sharing best practice. We’re pleased the work we’re doing throughout our business and supply chains and to support survivors of this horrible crime has been recognised in this way.”
The full shortlist for the Stop Slavery Award is:
(in alphabetical order)
Barclays Bank Plc
The Co-operative Group
Fortescue Metals Group (FMG)
Marks & Spencer
MGM China Holdings Ltd
Walmart Stores, Inc
The selection process:
All applicants completed an extensive questionnaire developed in partnership with global law firm Baker McKenzie, and experts in the field. It highlights best practice in corporate commitment and reporting, performance management, business partner engagement, risk assessment and investigation and remediation.
Submissions to the Award have been assessed by an independent third party, Uplift Worldwide, using specific criteria based on existing standards and best practices to score the applicants.
Uplift Worldwide developed a decision matrix to assess the submissions and compared company responses to assessment criteria that identified a company's practice as leading, base compliant, or lagging on a scale of 1-10 with individual weighting per question. The assessment criteria was developed using a combination of existing standards (e.g. UK Modern Slavery Act, US Federal Acquisition Requirements) and best practices (e.g. 2016 Know the Chain Benchmarking Methodology, 2016 Business Authentication Criteria).
The judging panel:
The shortlisted candidates will now be selected by a judging board comprising Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi; Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus H. Vance Jr; Britain’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland; Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth; International Criminal Prosecutor Patricia Sellers; and Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Monique Villa.
The UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates forced labour generates $150 billion in illegal profits every year. The ILO, together with international anti-slavery NGO Walk Free Foundation and the International Organization for Migration, estimates 40.3 million people are trapped in modern slavery around the world.
The winners of the 2017 Stop Slavery Award will be announced at the Trust Conference, taking place at London's QEII Centre on November 15, 2017.