Investors have launched an initiative to help firms develop better procedures against modern slavery in supply chains.
The Churches, Charities and Local Authorities (CCLA) Association, a charity fund manager, has launched the Find It, Fix It, Prevent It initiative to bring together a group of investors, NGOs and academics to address modern slavery over the next three years.
The CCLA has collaborated with the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and the investment industry to develop “better policies, processes and procedures”.
In the UK alone, over $18bn worth of goods likely produced through a form of slave labour are imported annually and nearly every company has connections to slavery somewhere in their supply chain, according to the CCLA.
Fiona Reynolds, CEO at Principles for Responsible Investment, said: “Investors have leverage and we need to use it.”
Through the initiative, the group of investors will work with companies in their portfolio to improve practices to identify and mitigate modern slavery, promote policies that incentivise companies to be transparent about how effective they have been, and contribute to research that can inform firms’ actions.
Peter Hugh Smith, chief executive at CCLA, said: “We work with 35,000 not-for profit organisations and so we have a licence to speak out and say that this is wrong.
“Quite simply, this is a moral case – as good investors we don’t want to profit from slavery. Instead, we want to praise companies for finding it in their supply chains as we know that it is there.”
James Corah, head of ethical and responsible investment at CCLA, added: “Good companies are those that find, and then support, victims of slavery. Sadly, there are not yet enough of them and we, as an industry, have to do everything we can to encourage better action.”
An advisory committee chaired by CCLA that will oversee the initiative. It will include representatives from different organisations, such as the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Investment Association, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab.
Chris Cummings, CEO at the Investment Association, said: “The investment management industry has the power to shine a light on companies and improve their practises. As investors, we want to invest in well run companies and we welcome this new initiative, which aims to stamp out slavery and support its victims.”
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