Modern Slavery Act – What Are You Doing About It?

Following the anticipated enactment of the Commonwealth of Australia’s Modern Slavery Act and in light of the enactment of the New South Wales Government’s Modern Slavery Act 2018, legislation is already a reality for companies operating in NSW.  Global GreenTag International CEO and Program Director David Baggs says: “the torch light has already been turned on – and it’s really time to do something about understanding the Act and its expectations, fully.”

David is to take a platform later this month in Sydney by invitation from leaders of the Design Futures Council  (DFC) and DesignIntelligence Australia to help bring the realities of the Act forward at a public function.  The event on August 21st  – Sustainable Supply Chains – Fighting Modern Slavery will deal directly with what Modern Slavery legislation means for the business community and especially the built environment sector that is the dominant dealer in the global supply chain.

David will join lead speaker Scott Alden, Partner and procurement expert with law firm Holding Redlich, Sally Irwin, Managing Director of The Freedom Hub and Alexia Lidas, Managing Director of the Design Futures Council and a board member of the Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA) to examine the modernisation of the supply chain, covering:

  • What modern slavery is
  • Modern Slavery in Australia – it exists
  • An overview of the legislation
  • Predictions on the implications for future contracting
  • What material and products have had modern slavery traced in the supply chain?
  • How to get verified?

As an early responder to the Modern Slavery Act – Global GreenTag was one of the core group of companies that pledged support behind the Australian Human Rights Commission’s call for Modern Slavery legislation in late 2017.  The company moved quickly to bring the successful Ethical Labour Sourcing tool designed by BRE in the UK to develop a new company assessment tool for Australia that will serve all kinds of businesses to help eliminate possibilities of trafficking or slavery in product supply chains and aid tracking and reporting.

“It is already something Global GreenTag has done at a product level – but now we can support companies, verifiers and the industry in general to engage with the new legislation in as cost efficient a manner possible,” says David.

Alexia Lidas from DFC says “an out of sight, out of mind mentality to the legislation is no longer an option … we have a moral obligation to ensure we are not unconsciously supporting modern slavery.” Plus, she adds, companies need to do a closer reading of the legislation because it won’t only be targeting companies making $50 million plus revenue to provide Modern Slavery Statements, this is a misconception.

“The legislation has been designed so that the mandated formal reporting is undertaken by entities that can carry the burden of additional admin, and are assumedly procuring larger amounts, making them the best focus area. However, they can be penalised for the activity of firms within their supply chain- meaning that although their immediate practices could be squeaky clean, if they have purchased from a firm which has modern slavery in their supply chain- they can be penalised. This domino effect means that each firm has a part to play in ensuring that the supply chain is free of modern slavery – irrespective of their turn-over.”

Procurement expert, Scott Alden, Partner at Holding Redlich also predicts how this might play out in future contracts, adding:

“This will become an increasingly common feature of commercial contracts requiring parties to monitor and address risks of modern slavery in their supply chains.  With penalties of over $1 million dollars for non-compliance with these new laws, we can expect to see specific indemnities where one party causes another to suffer a fine in relation to its Modern Slavery Statement”.

Global GreenTag’s development of the BRE Ethical Labour Sourcing (ELS) Standard will enable Australian companies to engage more confidently with the Modern Slavery legislation, using the Standard to self-assess or to submit to a more robust level using a third party verification process, which GreenTag will assess to provide assurance of their responsible and ethical business practices and provide a maturity pathway for continuous improvement.

The Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard specifies the requirements for organisational management to demonstrate an on-going commitment to the principles of ethical labour sourcing as part of a holistic framework. The framework comprises criteria for evaluating the maturity of the performance of the organisation under twelve issues. The overall verification is not based on an aggregation of the levels of maturity in these issues, but is based on a commitment to improve through an agreed set of objectives.

If you would like to attend this event and find out more, please register HERE


Sustainable Supply Chains -Fighting Modern Slavery


Tue. 21 August 2018


6:00 pm – 8:30 pm AEST


Holding Redlich, 65/19 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW 2000


The Design Futures Council (DFC) is a DesignIntelligence gathering of development, architecture, design, engineering, construction, product, and technology leaders who explore global trends, challenges, and opportunities to advance innovation and shape the future of architecture, engineering, construction (A/E/C) and design. Each year the DFC convenes summits on issues of strategic importance to leaders: technology and applied innovation, collaboration, education and talent, sustainability, and the business of design.

The DFC is committed to supporting the A/E/C community by providing information and understanding of trends and future issues. The Council creates context in which leaders from member firms can work with one another—as well as leading thinkers from outside industries—to tackle complex challenges and opportunities in A/E/C.