WesCEF - Human rights and ethical sourcing
WesCEF is committed to take actions that seek to contribute to the primary objectives of the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, to minimise the risk of modern slavery occurring in the division’s businesses and its supply chains. Unethical sourcing and modern slavery has severe consequences for victims, distorts global markets, undercuts responsible business and can pose significant legal and reputational risks.
WesCEF’s focus on ethical sourcing and human rights in the 2021 financial year has led to further development of its knowledge base and a clear operating framework. WesCEF takes a risk-based approach to this by reviewing its suppliers and the type of goods and services purchased.
This year, WesCEF established an ongoing relationship with a reputable external ethical sourcing and modern slavery consultancy. The consultant has assisted and guided WesCEF in terms of best practice in this area to establish a fit-for-purpose risk assessment questionnaire and tiered auditing program. This has involved the review and update of WesCEF’s Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and the creation of desktop and physical audit templates to better assess ethical sourcing and modern slavery risks. The revised SAQ was sent to 20 key suppliers to facilitate the first tier of the audit program. All their completed SAQs were reviewed by the consultant utilising standard methodology to evaluate the risk, with a full evaluation of findings and recommendations for improvements, including next steps, through the SAQ review letter. WesCEF, concurrently with its audit program, completed two physical audits with its security and cleaning suppliers.
The initial results of the first tier of the audit program highlighted the immaturity of key suppliers understanding of the modern slavery legislation and WesCEF’s audit requirements. Addressing this will be a focus area for next year, to drive improvement, increase transparency and ultimately eradicate modern slavery.
WesCEF’s education of its senior management team regarding ethical sourcing and human rights continues, with 91 leaders completing the training in the 2021 financial year, compared to 47 in the previous year.
Shipping, explicitly crew welfare, was highlighted as a high risk by Wesfarmers and industry advocates in the 2021 financial year due to COVID-19 restrictions and a working group was formed to work with regulators to determine how WesCEF can influence the human rights of crews.