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Australia

MEDIA RELEASE: Damning New Report Highlights Significant Modern Slavery Risks Facing Australian Businesses

5 April 2022

International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia has today released a new report which revealed more than 90 per cent of Australian businesses have identified potential modern slavery risks in their supply chains.

The report, Spot Fires in Supply Chains, analysed a sample of 404 company modern slavery statements submitted to the Australian Government’s Online Register for Modern Slavery Statements for FY21.

IJM Australia CEO, Steve Baird, said that many corporations are exposed to significant supply chain risk and are doing the bare minimum required under the Modern Slavery Act.

“It is disappointing to see such a high level of non-compliance on Australian shores,” Mr Baird said.

“This is a watershed moment for Australian businesses that are clearly exposed to significant supply chain risks.

“There is a clear gap in corporate Australia’s understanding of both the problem of modern slavery, and how to fix it. This report is the first step to fixing it and de-risking the supply chain for Australian corporations.”

Nearly 75 per cent of statements either did not satisfy basic reporting obligations or only met the basic reporting obligations.

Shockingly, nearly 85 per cent of company statements did not indicate a single instance where a company responded to actual or alleged modern slavery in their operations or supply chains.

“To see such a high level of non-compliance is quite confronting,” Mr Baird said.

“At IJM Australia, we are committed to helping companies understand the impact of modern slavery, and then how to identify and eliminate it from both the operational and supply chain front.”

Mr Baird said it wasn’t all bad news, however, with a handful of companies lodging gold-standard modern slavery statements.

The report revealed that most corporations do not appear to have a strong understanding of their own supply chains, with 66 per cent unable to provide information beyond their Tier 1 supply chains.

“This report has exposed just how far Australian businesses have to go when it comes to identifying and removing links to modern slavery in their business supply chains,” Mr Baird said.

“While we acknowledge that modern slavery is a challenging issue to stamp out, particularly in complicated supply chains, it is incumbent upon every business to step up and get the job done.

“It’s for the protection of millions of people around the world.”

Some other interesting findings from the report include:

  • Some 43 per cent of corporations met half or less of the study’s quality indicators.
  • Majority of strong statements (58 per cent) were large corporations > $1b revenue.
  • Majority of weak statements (79 per cent) were smaller corporations < $500m revenue.
  • Only 24 per cent of statements revealed the status of workers, for example whether they are part time, full time, contractors, skilled, unskilled.
  • The weakest section of most responses was in due diligence and remediation.

The report has received endorsement from the Global Survivor Network (GSN), which is leading a movement to protect communities from violence.

To download a copy of the report click here.

MEDIA:   Nick Trainor 0407 078 138

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