Unilever and Standard Chartered PLC, both Business Fights Poverty Business Leaders Group members, have received awards at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual human rights forum, Trust Conference.
Apple has been named winner of the Stop Slavery Award, which recognises businesses that have set a gold standard in efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains. The Judging Board agreed that Apple’s supplier responsibility programme ‘is leading in every category’, highlighting the company’s supplier engagement, monitoring and ‘extremely robust’ audit programme, which includes annual audits and spot audits. Notably, Judges praised its wide variety of industry collaborations, the fact that it openly shared its learnings with the public and its innovative solutions to push forward its supplier responsibility programme.
The Stop Slavery Award was also presented to Unilever, who won for the outstanding leadership of its CEO, Paul Polman, in the fight to clean one of the highest risk supply chains in the world. Judges noted its ‘highly complex, global and high-risk supply chain, including the use of palm oil in many of its products’ and praised its participation in the Consumer Goods Forum, where it facilitates industry collaboration. Judges added that Unilever ‘shows a commitment to continuous improvement, especially in the palm oil industry.’
Standard Chartered PLC was Highly Commended for working directly with clients to increase awareness and address issues that may arise. Judges found its reporting to be ‘one of the most transparent of the applicant companies’ and praised its process to detect human trafficking and financial crime. The multinational banking and financial services company was also honoured for collaborating to share expertise and developing toolkits to be used within the financial industry to disrupt the financial flow to human traffickers Thai Union Group PCL also received a Highly Commended award for leading the way in protecting migrant workers’ rights and ensuring responsible recruitment. It was praised for providing training to migrant workers on their labour rights, for its grievance mechanism, and for working with government to strengthen legislation around modern slavery.
‘This year’s Award shows a giant leap in the fight against slavery,” said Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We simply cannot stamp out human trafficking and forced labour without the co-operation of the business sector.
“The fact that some of the world’s largest companies such as Apple and Unilever have demonstrated best practice in attempts to rid their vast and complex supply chains of slavery proves that other businesses really can step up their game in tackling this issue. Our winners richly deserve recognition of the progress they’ve made. We want this to continue, and to see business leaders all over the world taking action.”
About the Stop Slavery Award
All corporate winners demonstrated leading practices across eight questionnaire categories: corporate containment, accountability and transparency, responsible recruitment, supplier/customer/business partner engagement, grievance mechanisms, monitoring and corrective action and stakeholder engagement including active government engagement.
The Stop Slavery Award independent jury comprises: Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner; Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch; Cyrus R. Vance Jr, District Attorney, New York County; John Ruggie, Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Patricia Sellers, International Criminal Lawyer; Kevin Hyland, Former UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO.
About the Thomson Reuters Foundation
The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote the highest standards in journalism and spread excellence in the practice of legal pro bono across the globe. The organisation runs initiatives that inform, connect and empower people around the world: access to free legal assistance, media development and training, editorial coverage of the world’s under-reported news, and the Trust Conference.