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Two key resources launched for the 2023 Modern Slavery Conference

 Silhouette of engineer and construction team working safely on scaffolding on high rise building.

Modern Slavery Risk Management — A playbook for Australian SMEs

On global SME day, 24 June 2023, the UN Global Compact Network Australia released its playbook to help Australian SME’s deal with modern slavery risks. The playbook is a resource to help identify, manage and mitigate risks of being involved in modern slavery.

The playbook outlines five practical steps that SMEs can follow, which also help them meet evolving expectations for broader human rights risks. They are:

  1. Make the public policy commitment.
  2. Know the signs and understand your risks.
  3. Take targeted action to address those risks.
  4. Listen to your team and workers in your value chain.
  5. Communicate effectively.

Strengthening modern slavery responses: Good practice toolkit

The Good Practice Toolkit: Strengthening Modern Slavery Responses is the fourth report released in a multi-year collaborative project by academics from the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW Sydney), Business and Human Rights Centre (RMIT), the University of Melbourne, the University of Notre Dame Australia, the University of Western Australia and Willamette University, together with the Human Rights Law Centre, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and Baptist World Aid.

It provides guidance for businesses on core aspects of human rights due diligence and how to strengthen their responses to Australia’s Modern Slavery Act. There are two main focusses in the toolkit:

  1. Engagement with stakeholders.
  2. Engagement with suppliers.

The key recommendations are:

  • Prioritise suppliers with demonstrated respect for human rights.
  • Work in partnership with suppliers in designing and communicating expectations.
  • Conduct meaningful and sustained engagement with workers and their representatives.
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders in the design of policies.
  • Use effective grievance mechanisms as an engagement tool.

Both resources are necessary reading for anyone producing a modern slavery report.

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