In the past 12 months we have seen a significant increase in CSR and anti-slavery work, and we expect to see more in 2017.
What is driving the trend? We think there are two drivers:
First, new laws dealing with anti-slavery and supply chain management have been springing up. In the UK, everybody should by now have heard of the Modern Slavery Act, which requires larger UK businesses to publish an annual statement dealing with the issue. A similar law also exists in California, and we predict more laws will come. India also has a specific law dealing with CSR (the first in the world, since 2014) which requires businesses to contribute 2% of their annual average profit to CSR endeavours.
But perhaps more importantly, businesses around the world are becoming more and more conscious of the need to be good corporate citizens, and this means turning their focus to CSR, anti-slavery and supply chain management. And many public sector bodies are now requiring information on these topics in tender applications.
So, whose professional lap is CSR falling into, within a business? Larger businesses will sometimes have a dedicated CSR department. But for businesses without that capability, responsibility for driving CSR/anti-slavery/supply chain policies often falls somewhere between HR, Procurement and Legal. After all, most (but not all) CSR initiatives focus on how workers are dealt with (the HR angle), supply chain management inevitably involves our friends in Procurement, and Legal will get involved in turning policies into contractual documentation with suppliers.
In 2017 we will be focussing more on these topics in our newsletters and seminar programme. In the meantime, if you would like help with your business’s CSR/anti-slavery/supply chain management projects (UK and elsewhere), please get in touch.