Last night, I had the pleasure to Award NXP Semiconductors and HPE with the first Stop Slavery Award. The Award is a direct result of the 2015 Trust Women Conference, when Anish Kapoor and I took an action together, and announced the launch of the initiative. The first of its kind, the Award recognizes businesses that have excelled in their efforts to eradicate modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
The Awards were developed to demonstrate that corporations play a critical role in ending modern slavery. Their role is in fact essential to galvanizing more businesses to take action. The Award itself is a beautiful artwork designed and produced by the great artist Anish Kapoor, who created this sculpture especially for the Awards. I am extremely grateful for his support throughout the years.
In applying for the Award, companies completed a questionnaire developed in partnership with Baker & McKenzie and experts in the field. Corporations were invited to submit information on their Corporate Commitment and Reporting; Performance Measurement; Business Partner Engagement; Training; Risk Assessment; Business Authentication; Investigation and Remediation; and Leadership and Innovation. I was very pleased that many corporations came forward to submit for this first round of the Stop Slavery Awards, especially because Chief Procurement Officers reported taking an average of one week to complete the questionnaire.
I would like to commend all of these companies for their courage in applying and sharing the level of content that they did, knowing that doing so open them up to increased scrutiny.
We received many very interesting submissions from high-profile organizations representing 10 different industries varying from retail to electronics to extractives. Of course, challenges vary by industry and operational environments, so we paid careful attention to each company’s unique landscape.
We hired an independent specialist to assess the submissions against criteria that determined the strength of policies and implementation programs in place. From the submissions, the consultant shortlisted 10 corporations to be assessed by the Judging Board comprised of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi, Global human rights and business expert John Ruggie, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus H. Vance Jr., Britain’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland, International Criminal Prosecutor Patricia Sellers, Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman, and myself.
The shortlisted candidates, in alphabetical order:
- ABP UK
- Apple Inc.
- Fortescue Metals Group
- Gildan Activewear Inc.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- NXP Semiconductors
- R. Twining & Co Ltd.
- Tesco Stores Ltd.
- Thai Union
Given the variety of challenges encountered by corporations fighting slavery, and the range of responses given, the Stop Slavery Award commends leadership in two distinct categories: Policy and Implementation to recognize a company that has stood out in its robust practices and programmes, and Transparency and Response to Challenges, to recognize a company that has demonstrated integrity, courage, and innovation in scrutinizing its operations.
Winner of the Policy and Implementation Award: NXP Semiconductors
NXP Semiconductors, a corporation with a turnover of over 6.1 billion dollars, has its Board of Directors and CEO signing off on all human trafficking policies and major activities. This level of executive approval has been critical for proper implementation of their programs, because accountability is clearly defined at all levels.
The core for effective accountability is their training protocols. This company identifies vulnerable worker populations and conducts targeted training. In 2016, they retrained over 300 suppliers in their facilities in Malaysia. They state, “We train so intelligent and informed purchasing decisions are made. We train so that our employees and our suppliers’ employees are not required to surrender any government issued identification, pay excessive fees, work excessive hours, live in an unsafe dormitory, that all work is voluntary, that workers are free to leave work or terminate their employment with reasonable notice. We train so that working conditions are safe and healthy.”
Winner of the Transparency and Response to Challenges Award: Hewlett Packard Enterprise
HPE, a company with a turnover of over 52 billion dollars, has had a longstanding commitment to seek expert input and proactively share information. This company has not shied away from openly engaging with outside parties on risks they identify in their supply chain. In 2011, this company recognized a growing risk for forced labour among foreign migrant workers, particularly in SE Asia, so they hosted a series of Anti-Human Trafficking workshops with suppliers and labour agencies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand to have an open forum on best practices.
Through its role in the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Board of Directors, the company worked to elevate industry standards in the Supply Chain Foreign Migrant Worker Standard. In 2016, this company became a founding member of IHRB’s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment (LGRR), a collaboration between leading companies and expert organizations to promote ethical recruitment and combat the exploitation of migrant workers in global supply chains. This company continues to engage internal and external partners to determine best practices that eliminate risks for modern slavery.
Huge congratulations to both winners and may the virtuous cycle begin!