Hope for Justice has announced a partnership with landscaping manufacturer Marshalls to ensure the company’s supply chain around the world remains free from modern slavery in all its forms.
Hope for Justice has extensive specialist experience identifying modern slavery within the business and labour recruitment sectors, and is now working directly with businesses to turn what could be an emerging business threat into a demonstration of ethical best practice and business awareness.
Chris Harrop, Marshalls’ Group Marketing Director, responsible for Sustainability, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership, the major focus of which is preventative activity aimed at employee and supplier education, but will also offer expert remediation services if required. Whilst at this point in time we are not aware of any instances of modern slavery within our business we understand that modern slavery is rife. This partnership will help us to deliver on the commitments we made in our first Modern Slavery Disclosure statement and the initial focus will be upon the UK, Vietnam and India.
“What’s special for us about Hope for Justice is that they are able to offer support and services which cover all aspects of training, prevention, investigation and response. They are a highly effective, efficient and well-connected organisation, working closely with the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland. By working with them we will be in a position to make our operations and supply chains a distinctly unattractive proposition for the organised criminals seeking to exploit both individuals and businesses.”
Neil Wain, International Programme Director at Hope for Justice, and former Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said: “As part of our own due diligence processes we scrutinise any partners seeking to work with Hope for Justice. Therefore I’m fully aware of the long-term efforts that Marshalls has made to support and uphold human rights around the globe and of the organisation’s genuine commitment to tackle modern slavery throughout its operations and supply chain.
“Indeed, Marshalls was one of the first organisations in the UK to publish its Modern Slavery Statement and as a result was identified as a ‘best performer’, an early indication for us that it is absolutely committed to its work in this area. Marshalls has made clear to me its desire to uphold the highest levels of integrity towards its workforce and I’m confident that together we can break new ground, particularly in terms of prevention, but also any remediation which might be necessary.
“I’m extremely pleased that Hope for Justice and Marshalls will move forward as partners in the fight to end modern slavery.”
Marshalls’ Business & Human Rights Lead, Elaine Mitchel-Hill, responsible for the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act within Marshalls’ operations and global supply chain, said: “While there is obviously a strong business case for this partnership in light of the Modern Slavery Act, Hope for Justice’s victim-centred approach, together with their investigative expertise and ability to both rescue and remediate, were extremely compelling; to my knowledge they are the only organisation in the UK able to offer this holistic end-to-end service. Our partnership has already demonstrated that by being open, frank and providing constructive challenge we can make good progress in the fight against modern slavery. I look forward to reporting on the progress that Marshalls has made in our second Modern Slavery Statement next year and to demonstrating how, by fully engaging with an emerging business threat, we can demonstrate best-practice as we drive towards transparent reporting.
“Increasingly it will be those organisations who continue to maintain that they remain untouched by the issues of modern slavery who will come under intense pressure to explain how this can possibly be the case in the light of this global issue. ”
Hope for Justice’s training, developed through years of experience working directly with victims, law enforcement, other agencies and partners, will be delivered throughout the business and supply chain by frontline practitioners in collaboration with Marshalls’ in-house training team and its army of Modern Slavery Ambassadors throughout the business.
In terms of prevention, Richard Beale, Marshalls Global Supply Chain Director, said: “A proactive preventative approach is the best way to inspire confidence in our customers and workforce and minimise risk to our brand. Together with Hope for Justice we have developed a supplier education programme focusing on modern slavery. We’re currently piloting this with our temporary labour provider here in the UK and the early signs are very positive. This is part of a wider programme of activity from a procurement perspective which will send a clear message to all of our suppliers and partners about what we value, how we work and what is and isn’t acceptable to us.
“I’m delighted that in Hope for Justice we have found such a forging, responsive and hands-on partner.”
With backgrounds in criminal investigation and public protection, Hope for Justice’s award-winning expert teams operate out of highly successful Regional Investigative Hubs to provide proactive services. Having already trained thousands of frontline police and public service professionals, increasingly the focus will be the corporate sector, helping businesses like Marshalls to ensure their supply chains are slavery-free and stay that way.
Mitchel-Hill said: “By acting sensitively and discreetly, Hope for Justice will safely assess an individual’s situation and, if they are identified as trafficked, place them into the Government’s National Referral Mechanism aftercare accommodation and support them through a remediation process. Marshalls will be guided by Hope for Justice to ensure that our business response to any individuals identified is both supportive, appropriate and in their best interests.”