Modern Slavery Program of Work

The VicWater Social Procurement Working Group commenced Phase Three of our Sustainable Procurement Initiative in November 2020. Jointly funded by the majority of Water Corporations, we engaged the ongoing support of a specialist human rights consulting team at KPMG Banarra. This Initiative is an important piece of work to put us in an industry-leading position in our approach to sustainability issues in our supply chains.

Phase Three mobilises one of our priority areas from Phase Two – to address human rights risks, particularly modern slavery, in our supply chains. This is both in line with VicWater’s sustainability ambitions and values, and supports VicWater’s members’ response to new legislation, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth).

Fourteen VicWater members have participated in this Phase, which consists of three Workstreams:

  1. Modern slavery statement content: The production of shared content that participating members can adapt for use in their Modern Slavery Statements which need to be approved at Board level (now under development and due 31 March 2021).
  2. Procurement toolkit and piloting: The development of procurement tools that will support members to manage the risk of modern slavery in their procurement activities. The toolkit will be piloted with selected members and their suppliers.
  3. Industry forum on supplier evaluation: Hosting a three-hour virtual forum with a selection of Australian water corporations to share our lessons learned and understand what an industry-wide approach to supplier evaluation may look like. If you have contacts or are aware of Water Corporations interested in collaborating on modern slavery, please pass on their details.

Workstream 1 was completed before Christmas, and the procurement toolkit pilots of Workstream 2 will commence in February. Development of the industry forum (Workstream 3) is forthcoming and will be shared with you in the coming months. For more information contact your local member of the Social Procurement Working group or Leanne Hill (Chair) at Melbourne Water.