Eight pathways launched to combat slavery in supply chains

September 07, 2017 by Kirsty Adams
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Eight pathways launched to combat slavery in supply chains

The APRES (Action Programme on Responsible and Ethical Sourcing) Eight Pathways Model, has been launched today via a White Paper, produced by world-leading building science centre, BRE, and academic partner, Loughborough University. It aims to combat global human rights abuses amidst calls for updated cultural approaches and demands for different working practices.

The model provides a professional approach to the responsible and ethical sourcing of materials, products and people working in property and construction markets worldwide. It presents eight pathways to best practice that takes organisations and individuals from the level of ‘Baseline’ to ‘Best in Class’ performance.

The APRES Eight Pathways Model is a call to action in response to the need for construction and property firms to evidence effective and appropriate policy provision, together with the professional and contractual ability to convert it into practice (along the full length of the supply chain). Environmental concerns are relevant here, but with the Global Slavery Index estimating that there are 45.8 million people in modern slavery, across 167 countries worldwide – clearly there are major social issues that some businesses must address in the way they operate.



The 2017 APRES White Paper will be of interest to a range of organisations and stakeholders in the construction and property sectors, including: clients and asset owners; contractors; designers and specifiers; manufacturers and distributors; market analysts; professional and representative bodies; purchasing and procurement specialists; subcontractors and suppliers; supply-chain auditors.

Professor Jacqui Glass, Chair of Architecture and Sustainable Construction at Loughborough University and APRES programme leader, said: “UK public scrutiny of employment standards and labour rights intensified significantly in 2015 with the introduction of the Living Wage and the Modern Slavery Act.
“It seemed inevitable that tough questions would start getting asked about organisations’ and companies’ ethical policies and practices. In construction, known for its long and complex global supply chains, these questions do not simply stop at the entrance to the building site, or even the UK border.
“The APRES Eight Pathways Model is an important new contribution to knowledge. It builds on academic research, market intelligence, co-created insights, plus sound management systems and practices from some of the leaders in the field. It answers the fundamental question – how do I embed the right practices in my business?”

The pathways are based on the critical areas of operation in a business: from initial policy-making, via compliance, right through to PR and continuous improvement. The journey to take an organisation from where it is now on responsible and ethical sourcing to where it ultimately wants to be, begins with some very practical steps.

The pathways are designed to be implemented over time, via four stages – preparation (Plan), action (Do), review (Check) and refinement (Improve) – and along eight Pathways. 1 Organisation Strategy and Policies; 2 Management Systems; 3 Assurance: Compliance & Auditing; 4 Assurance: Reporting; 5 Procurement; 6 Financial Management; 7 HR, Recruitment, Staff Training & Development; 8 Communications, External Relations & PR.
Not all eight pathways’ elements need to operate concurrently – a staggered progression is envisaged. Approaching the implementation process as a journey, involving distance travelled with a sense of direction over time, is a good mindset to adopt, rather than simply seeking to be incrementally better today, than yesterday.

Dr Shamir Ghumra, Director Sustainable Products at BRE, the home of APRES, said: “Accountability is an absolute must for supply-chain excellence and sustainable procurement in the 21st century – the pressure from both public and commercial parties to demonstrate transparency and traceability is not going to go away. The APRES Eight Pathways Model holds the keys to progress and success.”

The APRES Eight Pathways Model will be presented at the 7th annual APRES Conference to be held on 22 November 2017. The sector-leading event, this year entitled ‘Risk & Responsibility: The Evolution of Supply Chain Data and Business Culture’, is sponsored by BSI and CARES and will be hosted at QEII Centre, Westminster, London. Participants include Co-op, Debenhams and EDF. More information apres.bre.co.uk. 

Modern slavery, indentured and forced labour, and human trafficking in a construction sector context are the focus of the 2nd annual Modern Slavery & Ethical Labour in Construction Leadership Symposium. The Symposium is sponsored by BSI and CIOB, and supported by GLAA, IEMA RIBA, RICS and others, and will take place at One Great George Street, Westminster, London on Anti-Slavery Day, 18 October 2017.


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