A UK investor coalition that encourages companies to identify instances of modern-day slavery in their supply chains is now expanding its efforts to cover the country’s construction and materials sectors.
The ‘Find It, Fix It, Prevent It’ initiative was founded in 2019 by CCLA Investment Management and originally focused the hospitality industry.
“The construction industry is estimated to contain 18% of the world’s victims of forced labour,” said, Peter Hugh Smith, CCLA’s chief executive.“It also has a complicated supply chain that spans the globe. Both of these factors make it an important sector for investors to engage in addressing modern slavery.”
The coalition says its 56 investors are now manaing £7 trillion ($9.6 trillion) in assets.
The group would begin its campaign in the construction and materials sector in the third quarter of 2021.
According to the Global Slavery Index, there are around 40 million people in some form of modern-day slavery around the world, and $18 billion of goods imported to the UK every year are “very likely” to be the product of slave labor to someone degree.
Fiona Reynolds, chief executive of Principles for Responsible Investment, says London’s response to the issue has been “woefully inadequate.”
“Investors using their leverage can engage with investee companies to understand the due diligence undertaken by companies and how they investigate supply chains to identify and eradicate modern slavery.”
The new announcement comes amid a growing focus on ethical issues in corporate supply chains.
Sara Thornton, The UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner said that companies had to do more to protect vulnerable workers.
“Investors have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that they do this,” she argued.