Apparel Workers at Sewing Machines

The emergence of new laws related to forced labor and human trafficking have increased the demand for Verité trainings. The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires that companies raise the internal awareness and skills needed to address the risk of forced labor, which affects approximately 21 million workers globally today. Verité conducted two highly successful trainings – for buyers and for auditors – with that objective in Hong Kong last month.

 

Contracted and arranged by Pentland Brands, the series included two half-day buyers risk flagging modules designed to help procurement staff identify and respond to risk indicators in the systems and practices of vendors and suppliers. Over 40 Pentland Brands employees attended, as well as Pentland Brands’ third-party auditors and local staff invited from Next, Marks & Spencer, and adidas Group.

 

The session “Avoiding Modern Slavery in Supply Chains” represented the first official run of a module developed and piloted with a core group of UK brands and retailers, Pentland Brands and Next among them, at the start of the summer. A screening questionnaire and other practical tools are included in the program.

 

In the words of one participant, a Pentland Brands Fabric Manager: “Before the training we all knew the concept but this program gave me the insight to verify/identify the actual risks and the methodology to implement [risk controls.]” A Pentland Brands Logistics Manager commented: “My role is not directly dealing with vendors, however, the technique that I learned from the training I can share with other people in the company to tackle Modern Slavery.”

 

Forced Labor Audits Skills Workshop
The buyer’s session was followed by a two-day advanced Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioners and Auditors Workshop that focused on the technical skills needed to detect the various forms and root causes of modern day slavery both in global supply chains and in company operations.

 

Participants described the training, which included case work and role playing interviews of migrant workers and employers, as ‘really valuable,’ ‘very engaging,’ ‘excellent,’ and ‘the in-depth knowledge of the facilitators very inspiring.’

 

“Pentland Brands are very pleased to have worked with Verité in the design and delivery of our global Modern Slavery training,” said Tim Pilch, Head of Ethical Trade at Pentland Brands.“Engaging people and cultures worldwide requires a partner with global reputation, experience and reach. Verité ticked all the boxes.”

 

For more information or to request a training, please contact Lydia Long.