Speaking at the report launch of Human Rights in Supply Chains: Promoting positive practice yesterday, Gillian Triggs, President of the Australia Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said, “transnational companies get it and we need to step up”.
The AHRC, alongside Global Compact Network Australia and Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR), presented the findings of their three-stage research project. The study, the first of its kind in Australia, provides insights into how Australian businesses are managing human rights risks in their supply chains, and sheds light on challenges and potential solutions for improving practices. Limited visibility of supplier practices is identified as the biggest barrier to progress, as is a lack of Executive team buy-in.
Dr. David Cooke, Managing Director of Konica Minolta, says this is an issue on his company’s agenda.
“Konica Minolta is on an important journey to understand more about its local and international supply chains.” Since 2013, Konica Minolta has been a member of the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition (EICC) and last year joined the ethical data exchange platform, Sedex. It is also a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and committed to ensuring human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption are respected in business operations.
Vanessa Zimmerman, Director of the Global Compact Network Australia, elaborated that respect for human rights means do no harm in all areas of the supply chain and operations. Applying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is one way of doing that.
“It is important to see ethical sourcing as a cross-business function, not something that just sits with CSR,” says Laura McManus, Konica Minolta’s Ethical Supply Chain Consultant. “At Konica Minolta we are working closely with procurement, compliance and learning & development to embed good policies in practice.”
While Australian business still have a long way to go, Dr. Leora Black, Director of the ACCSR, highlighted the report finding that addressing human rights has become more important to them. The research also concludes that businesses:
Andrew Bywaters, Konica Minolta’s Supply Chain Manager, says “There is a lot of social good that can be derived from ethical and sustainable procurement. Konica Minolta wants to ensure we are using our influence to positively impact workers in our supply chain.”
Konica Minolta Australia will launch an ethical sourcing roadmap in 2016.