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Woolworths leads the way in tackling modern slavery in supply chains


6 September 2021 at 4:33 pm
Nikki Stefanoff
New research ranking modern slavery statements of Top 100 ASX companies found that Woolworths, Wesfarmers and Westpac are just a few of the organisations leading the charge. 


Nikki Stefanoff | 6 September 2021 at 4:33 pm


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Woolworths leads the way in tackling modern slavery in supply chains
6 September 2021 at 4:33 pm

New research ranking modern slavery statements of top 100 ASX companies found that Woolworths, Wesfarmers and Westpac are just a few of the organisations leading the charge. 

When it comes to fighting modern slavery, Woolworths is doing better than all other ASX100 companies, new research shows.

Since the Modern Slavery Act came into play in 2019, large organisations with annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million have had to report on the risks of modern slavery in the day-to-day running of their business.

The financial year 2020-21 was the first time these ASX100 companies were required to report on the risk of modern slavery — defined as the potential for each entity to cause, contribute to, or be directly linked to modern slavery through its operations and supply chains — specifically in their supply chains.

The Monash Centre for Financial Studies (MCFS) looked at the modern slavery statements submitted by 99 ASX100 organisations and ranked them on the best disclosure scores.

Woolworths came in at number one followed closely by Fortescue Metals, Wesfarmers, Westpac and Ansell to make up the top five.

At the other end of the scale, the companies that performed poorly this year included Fisher and Pikel, Nine Entertainment, Harvey Norman Group and Afterpay.

Lead researcher Dr Nga Pham and her team found that the companies that scored highly had two things in common — a large number of employees and big supply spends. And on top of that, they had also made managing modern slavery risks a priority.

“This meant that they were transparent in how they assess and address the risk of modern slavery practices in their operations and supply chains and monitor such actions against the mandatory criteria outlined by the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act,” Dr Pham said.

The research showed that for the 99 companies the research team looked into, the most common modern slavery risks were forced labour, child labour and debt bondage (forcing someone to work to pay off money owed.)

Dr Pham said that as this was the first year companies have had to submit a report looking at supply chains, she expected the majority of companies would take steps to improve over the next 12 months.

She recommended companies that scored badly start by looking at ways to engage and educate their suppliers in order to mitigate future risks within their supply chains.

You can read the full report here. 


Nikki Stefanoff  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Nikki Stefanoff is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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