Achilles has launched the Ethical Business Programme, a single standard through which to assess ethical employment practices. Developed alongside leading players across the construction industry and Unseen, the anti-slavery charity, the Ethical Business Programme will enable industry to identify, investigate and improve employment conditions within their supply chain.
A key component of Achilles’ ESG strategy, the programme is the first industry standard qualification that will allow business to better understand and act upon audit results, creating solutions and improvement plans that incorporate training and education. Continuous improvement through setting goals and executing against improvement plans being at the heart of the annual certification process.
Key components of the Ethical Business Programme:
- Ethical Site survey – focus on labour standards including wages, right to work, fair treatment of staff through anonymised interviews with onsite workers
- Ethical Employment audit – focus on employment practices both in house and at contractors and agency operations
- Action plan – focus on compliance, training, mitigation, remediation support and annual goal setting
- Ethical insights – key statistics and data from across the programme to benchmark and drive continuous improvement
Advising on this is the Achilles Ethical Business Working Group, which brings together leaders from across industry (for full list see here). Engaging with industry and third sector expertise is critical – a collaborative approach that incorporates supplier development and works with every level of the supply chain, will mean that the Ethical Business Programme enables businesses to tackle modern slavery at every level.
As demonstrated by the recent Achilles’ Ethical Employment Trends report, issues such as non-standard wage deductions and a lack of verified right to work documentation, continue to permeate industry. Modern Slavery is a growing problem that needs an approach that encompasses scrutiny, insight, understanding and action. The Ethical Business Programme is part of Achilles’ suite of ESG products which drive sustainability across different aspects of ESG requirements.
Jay Katzen, Chief Executive of Achilles commented: “ESG is a major focus for business today, and the importance of focussing on the social element is, for the weakest in society, a matter of life or death. The Achilles Ethical Business Programme is a huge step forward in tackling modern slavery, and creating more ethical, sustainable supply chains. It is great to see leading players in the industry coming together with us in this unprecedented way to face the issue head on. We know that initiatives like this only work when you engage the full supply chain; with a focus on raising awareness and providing education, there can be no more excuses.”
Alice Hands, Head of Ethical and Sustainable Procurement at Sir Robert McAlpine commented: “For the last few years Achilles has been delivering labour practice audits that have enabled us to assess our supply chain. The formation of this group will allow the industry to work together to further develop this service, and it will provide a collaborative approach to addressing the risk of modern slavery and labour exploitation.”