Together: Tackling human rights and modern slavery risks in our supply chain

Since 2017, Victorian Water Corporations have been collaborating to manage environmental and social issues in their supply chains. The VicWater ‘Social Procurement Working Group’ (SPWG) was established and, with the support of KPMG Banarra, has taken a united approach to making sustainable and ethical purchasing decisions.

With the publication of the Modern Slavery Act 2018, Water Corporations with consolidated annual revenues above $100M are required to produce an annual statement on how they manage modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.

The Working Group is excited to present their insights at OzWater'21 on the collaborative program of work they have implemented in FY20-21 around human rights and modern slavery, including:

  • Developing a procurement toolkit to assess and manage human rights risks, including modern slavery, in their Request for Tenders and contracts;
  • Undertaking a number of pilot procurement projects on high risk products and services with the support of KPMG Banarra and the Cleaning Accountability Framework;
  • Organising and facilitating an industry virtual forum to explore how Water Corporations across Australia could collaborate to evaluate and support suppliers on human rights issues.

This panel session will be highly interactive and practical, responding to burning questions that are very relevant to most Australian Water Corporations and to suppliers in the water industry. The panel will not only build awareness of risks of modern slavery in the supply chain but will provide a leading best practice approach to taking positive action for this complex legal and ethical issue.

The Associate Director of KPMG Banarra, Human Rights and Social Impact Services, will share their global expertise to provide the must know basics in the Commonwealth Governments Modern Slavery Act (Cth) 2018. As leading experts in this field you will hear of important updates and trends around Modern Slavery.

The diverse panel including Vic Water and members of the SPWG will share the sectors learning and discuss typical challenges faced by the sector such as metro versus regional implications. With improved awareness and understanding across the water sector we seek to find opportunities to do things better and to collaborate.

The ripple effect of this legislation will cascade to all levels of suppliers as we aim to increase transparency and due diligence of tendering and contracting processes. Modern Slavery Statements are being published in the Department of Home Affairs online registry. Driven initially by a governance requirement, this is an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and maintain reputational expectations of our customers and the community.

Taking action to combat modern slavery makes good business sense. Entities that take action to combat modern slavery in their operations and supply chains can protect against possible business harm and improve the integrity and quality of their supply chains.

The panel, including Peter Morison hope to see you on Day 2 at OzWater in Adelaide 4-6 May!