Marshalls has engaged the power of its nationwide logistics operation to help eradicate modern slavery. The entire logistics management team has been trained by anti-slavery partner, Hope for Justice, and a bespoke training film, in-house training programme and supporting material is now being cascaded throughout logistics operations. The initiative was officially launched today (7th March) with the backing of West Yorkshire PCC and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) lead on Modern Slavery, Mark Burns-Williamson, and with the support of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).
Mark Burns-Williamson said “Businesses and their supply chains have a key role in putting an end to modern slavery. They are invaluable partners and well placed to help in the detection and prevention of these horrific crimes and abuses. This is a great commitment by Marshalls PLC. A West Yorkshire-based organisations, the UK’s leading hard landscaping and construction materials company, and with a national and global reach. Marshalls’ stance on this is already making a real difference. I hope and believe this is something that other businesses will definitely look to replicate and get involved in. Raising awareness and providing training among frontline workers is key in helping eradicate such abhorrent practices.”
Elaine Mitchel-Hill, Business & Human Rights Lead, and responsible for Marshalls’ response to the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act said, “Colleagues throughout our logistics operations recognise their unique role in helping to eradicate modern slavery. They absolutely know what’s right and what’s not; they are already well equipped to make a moral judgement. This bespoke training helps them to better understand the signs of modern slavery. They’re then empowered to make a call and report what they’ve seen. And that’s all we’re asking them to do. Simply understand the signs, to spot and then report; that’s more than enough. Job Done.”
Mitchel-Hill continued, “We already know that this highly visible front line logistics initiative has incredible power in term of empowering and equipping colleagues who are out delivering to construction site, yards and other locations not always visible to law enforcers. In one instance within 24 hours of training dash-cam footage was provided to local law enforcement when the driver was able to recognise that what he was witnessing was most likely a serious indication of modern slavery.”
Samantha Ireland, Head of Business Change, at the GLAA who has developed and facilitates the GLAA Construction Protocol Network commented, “Information and intelligence from the construction sector is key. Since developing the Construction Protocol and engaging deeply with the construction sector we’ve seen a significant increase in reporting and instances modern slavery. This very practical and powerful initiative from Marshalls is exactly what is required.”
Chris Harrop OBE, Group Marketing Director responsible for Sustainability, joined the launch event remotely from the businesses supply chain in China, “Our preventative activity on-the-ground in the UK is every bit as important as the work that we do across the globe in our supply chains. The extent of modern slavery in the UK shows little sign of stopping or slowing. It was reported just recently that 1 in 200 people globally are in slavery; more than 40 million people worldwide and more than at any other time in history*. It’s vital that organisations really scrutinise their business operations to find areas that can be leveraged in the fight against modern slavery. This frontline initiative is very simple and very effective.”
Nigel Basey, Head of Logistics said, “Throughout the coming weeks Marshalls’ entire fleet of vehicles the length and breadth of the country will have the National Modern Slavery Helpline Number (08000 121 700) clearly visible for all to see. All of our logistics team are extremely engaged, well informed and keen to do what they can to spot and report.”
Mitchel-Hill concluded, “We’re already in discussions with a client and supplier organisation both of whom have large logistics operations in the UK and who are keen to adopt this Power of Logistics approach. We have committed to making all of our Power of Logistics collateral and learnings available to them, and any other companies that are interested, and to supporting them in this endeavour because this space is about eradicating modern slavery and we’ll do that only through true collaboration; this is absolutely not a competitive space.” #collaborationnotcompetition