How Australia’s Slave-Free Alliance hopes to change the face of Aussie retail
19 July 2021 at 4:10 pm
Supermarket chain ALDI has become the first member of Australia’s Slave-Free Alliance
ALDI Australia has become the first Australian member of the Slave-Free Alliance, a social enterprise launched by global anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice, in a move advocates hope will encourage retailers across the country to think about their supply chains.
The Slave-Free Alliance launched in Australia in 2020, however, it has been operating in the UK for a number of years where it has almost 100 members, including eight FTSE 100 companies and several supermarket chains.
Lynette Kay, director of Slave-Free Alliance Australia (SFAA), told Pro Bono News that when the social enterprise began planning for an Australian expansion it reached out to ALDI Australia and invited it to join.
Kay explained that ALDI is the ideal organisation to demonstrate the work of SFAA because it has an innovative and reliable brand reputation, and is already a UK member.
“Our strategy is to reach out to corporates with whom we have some connection as we get established in Australia,” she said.
“But ultimately we are eager to support any corporate to use the Modern Slavery Act 2018 as a tool to take serious action to address modern slavery.”
Once an organisation has signed on, the team at SFAA work closely with it to find ways to drive change.
“We’re working closely with the ALDI Team, and their suppliers, to identify and address the human rights risks in their supply chain in Australia,” Kay told Pro Bono News.
“Already ALDI has rolled out an e-learning training program for their team to build their capacity to identify risks, red flags and [find the] appropriate actions to take.”
After SFAA and ALDI have completed the human rights risk assessment, which looks into local supply chains such as fresh produce, fresh meat and goods not for resale, SFAA will help ALDI put in place any mechanisms needed to ensure human rights are protected.
Daniel Baker, corporate responsibility director at ALDI Australia, said the partnership would support ALDI as it works towards ensuring fair and safe working conditions.
“Modern slavery is a complex issue requiring thorough and progressive action,” Baker said.
“We understand the significant impact we can have on intercepting the exploitation of workers within our supply chain and our partnership with Slave-Free Alliance will help to ensure modern slavery continues to be identified and addressed.”
Kay hopes that ALDI becoming the first member of SFAA will encourage other Australian organisations to sign up.
“We know from our UK experience that when more retailers join Slave-Free Alliance it encourages others to join and to collaborate to achieve even stronger outcomes in identifying and addressing risks in supply chains,” she said.
“Modern slavery is a complex, interconnected and hidden problem that requires intervention at multiple levels by many players. Joining Slave-Free Alliance is one action that retailers can take.”