Australia: Investor report says Australian cos. 'significantly exposed' to modern slavery; provides guide on Modern Slavery Act reporting

A report by the Australian Council for Superannuation Investors says Australian companies are “significantly exposed” to modern slavery in their supply chains. Among the sectors that are most vulnerable are financial services, mining, construction and property, food, beverages and agriculture, and healthcare. The report provides companies and investors guidance to assess their exposure to modern slavery and aid them in reporting under the new Modern Slavery Act 2018.

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Article
16 February 2019

Australian companies 'significantly exposed' to slavery risk - investors

Author: Adeshola Ore, Thomson Reuters Foundation

16 February 2019

Australian companies are “significantly exposed” to modern slavery in their supply chains, with sectors ranging from finance and mining to healthcare most at risk, an influential group representing some of the country’s biggest investors said.

...The Australian Council for Superannuation Investors (ACSI), which advises pension funds on how to vote at shareholder meetings, said their reliance on imported goods meant Australian companies were particularly exposed to such risks.

In a report...it called on investors to apply pressure on companies to ensure meaningful reporting, saying slavery threatened shareholder value in addition to its devastating human impact.

“From a company perspective and from an investor perspective, slavery in supply chains open companies up to significant reputational risk,” said ACSI Chief Executive Louise Davidson.

...More than 40 million people globally are living and working in slave-like conditions, according to joint research by the International Labour Organization and the Walk Free Foundation.

The 2018 Global Slavery Index estimates that 15,000 of these people are in Australia.

...The report focused on five sectors that it identified as being at highest risk of exposure to modern slavery in their supply chains, excluding the fashion industry.

These were financial services; mining; construction and property; food, beverages and agriculture, and healthcare....

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Report
15 February 2019

Modern Slavery Risks, Rights & Responsibilities - A Guide for Companies and Investors

Author: Australian Council of Superannuation Investors

15 February 2019

...This report contains valuable tools for companies and investors in the fight against slavery. Beyond identifying high-risk factors and sectors, it includes practical checklists to diagnose companies’ modern slavery readiness and the effectiveness of their responses....

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