Modern slavery rankings, Myanmar leads on charity, and shareholders missing out on sustainability data

Companies slow to report modern slavery risks

Only 27 UK companies among the FTSE 100 have so far reported on their actions to stamp out forced labour in their supply chains, as required under the Modern Slavery Act. Of these, none is judged to be high-performing. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre ranked the reporting companies in 10 tiers, according to their compliance measures and disclosure practices. Almost half are classified in the bottom three tiers. The two best performers - Marks & Spencer and SAB Miller – only made it into tier three (with tier one being the higher). Reporting on training and effectiveness received the lowest average score across measurement areas; 1.4 and 1.0 out of five, respectively.

A separate survey by UK supply chain specialists Historic Futures and human rights consultancy Ergon sheds a brighter light. More than three-quarters (76%) of directors are now more engaged on slavery risks within supply chains than they were before the act’s introduction last year. An uptake in engagement is evident among buyers (62%) and ethical trading teams (58%) too. Reporting remains a challenge, however. More than half (56%) of the companies surveyed say they do not receive regular information about those involved in their extended supply chain. A mere 29% report “sometimes” receiving such information.

Last year, 289 offences were prosecuted for modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK, a new report from the Institute for Human Rights and Business reveals. In addition to national legislation, human trafficking is covered by eight international conventions. The International Labour Organisation estimates that modern slavery generates as much as $150bn per year in illicit profits for business and affects nearly 19 million people worldwide.

Global giving index

Myanmar is the most charitable country on the planet. For the third year in a row, the island nation in southeast Asia has topped the Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index. Close on its heels is the US (second), Australia (third) and New Zealand (fourth). The UK (eighth) is identified as the most generous country in Europe, with Kenya (12th) and Guatemala (29th) leading in Africa and Latin America, respectively. Despite global GDP falling during 2015, the percentage of people who donate money has remained relatively stable since 2014, at 31.4%. Compared to 2011, however, donors have dropped by 4 percentage points. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who volunteer stands at 21.6% of the global population, up from 21.0% in 2014. People in Turkmenistan are most likely to volunteer, with 60% of people giving their time for free. The top 10 volunteer nations include the US (46% of people volunteer), New Zealand (44%) and Ireland (40%). On average, men (23.4%) are more likely to say they volunteer than women (19.9%). The annual CAF index is based on a survey of 148,000 people in 140 countries. There is a helpful infographic here:

Skin deep’ sustainability data for shareholders

For investors to take environmental and social issues seriously, businesses need to show them what value the proactive management of these issues brings. Not enough are doing so. According to a new report by London-based advisory firm Corporate Citizenship, more than one quarter (74%) of the 50 companies surveyed in 13 geographies failed to make any mention of long-term value to shareholders in their sustainability reports. Those that did mention the issue tend to do so only at a “skin deep” level. Companies that issue integrated reports, combining financial and non-financial information, represent a rare exception. All (100%) of these make “relevant mentions” of long-term value. Companies in the EU dominate here, with no US firm identified among the top 10 examples. The report judges the Danish pharmaceutical company NovoNordisk as best at articulating the value generated for shareholders from sustainability management.

modern slavery  The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre  Global Giving Index  corporate citizenship 

comments powered by Disqus