Online Ethical Labour Sourcing standard (BES 6002) developed to provide a framework for businesses to self-assess to better understand their corporate governance profile including human rights responsibilities
Dr Shamir Ghumra, Director of Sustainable Products at BRE, says in today’s globalised market place, where there are 45.8million people across 167 countries in modern slavery*, human rights due diligence and ethical approaches to organisational and supply chain management are morally and strategically significant. The online launch of the Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard (ELS) provides a way for companies to self-assess their on-going commitment to the principles of ethical labour sourcing and profile their corporate governance.
The ELS, published by BRE in February 2017, was developed to support businesses to understand the profile of their social/ethical governance, including their human rights challenges. The ELS provides a framework for verifying ethical labour sourcing, and a route for companies working across all sectors and geographies to verify their systems and processes. The progression to an online tool – to support the existing offline service – enables businesses to create an account and immediately begin to understand their strengths and weaknesses in terms of corporate governance risks and requirements.
The easy-to-use online ELS platform consists of actions to be completed to demonstrate the adoption of the principles of ethical labour sourcing. These actions are established from an assessment against 12 issues areas: Organisation structure; Management policies; Management systems; Assurance, compliance and auditing; Human Resources; Immigration; Procurement; Supply chain management; Bribery & corruption; Learning & development ; Forums; Reporting.
Only when companies are satisfied they are ready to progress to the formal verification process – which involves a site visit from BRE, producing specific management documentation in the 12 issues areas previously listed – might they elect to do so. In the meantime, they can revisit, re-evaluate and measure online how they are performing against their own objectives, needs and identified risks in the 12 issue areas.
To date, product manufacturer Marshalls, labour provider VGC Group, and contractor Sir Robert McAlpine have formally verified to the ELS. Many others in the construction sector and other industries, both in the UK and globally, have expressed an interest in the ELS. Several are either self-assessing to understand their needs and risks, or formally progressing towards verification, in order to demonstrate their continuous improvement in how ethically they govern their organisations.
The ELS online will be launched at a reception hosted by Baroness Young of Hornsey at The House of Lords, Westminster, London SW1, on 17 April 2018.
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Notes to editors
*Legislation, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015), has shone a light on the need for businesses to understand their human rights risks and responsibilities in their direct business operations and, significantly, their global supply chains. The Global Slavery Index has estimated there are 45.8million people across 167 countries in modern slavery. The UK Government has estimated there are around 13,000 people in modern slavery in Britain today – although it’s likely there are many more entrapped in forced labour practices.
BRE Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard (BES 6002)
The BRE Environmental and Sustainability Standard provides a framework for the verification of Ethical Labour Sourcing (BES 6002) and to give a route to company level verification. The standard is the Property of BRE Global Limited. The online standard can be accessed at: www.elsonline.co.uk
BRE is an international, multi-disciplinary, building science organisation with a mission to improve buildings and infrastructure through research and knowledge generation, and their application. BRE employs over 600 people in the UK, China, India, the Middle East and the USA who are committed to building a better world together.
Our products, services, standards and qualifications are applied in over 80 countries enabling our customers to make a positive difference to the built environment. We are owned by a charity called the BRE Trust, which delivers one of the largest programmes of built environment education and research for the public good. www.bregroup.com