Last week, CARE Australia Chief Executive Sally Moyle was a panellist at the 2017 Australian Dialogue on Business and Human Rights convened by the Global Compact Network Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission. She said:
“There is a controversial but important discussion about the role of businesses in identifying and responding to human rights concerns across their operations and along their supply chains. This discussion investigates what transparency looks like and how NGOs such as CARE can work with businesses to advance human rights. NGOs and businesses have an opportunity to deliver true shared value through partnerships which better respect the rights of people around the world while helping businesses deliver improved products more competitively.
“In October, governments met in Geneva to negotiate a treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. This treaty would ensure corporations respect human rights and are accountable for breaches. This negotiation has a long way to run but the progress is promising. The negotiation follows Australia’s announcement of a consultation for a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. This is great news from the Australian Government and CARE Australia looks forward to commenting on the draft legislation.
“Robust legislation would require considerable internal reform by corporations. Businesses need to put resources to investigate their supply chains, and make sure people are held to account for investigating and addressing risk, including taking positive steps to remediate problems. Remuneration, procurement and contracting all need to align to deliver the right incentives to change. And product lines need to build in adequate budgets to do this work.
“As usual, we value what we measure and are held to account for. Reporting processes are not enough in themselves to ensure Australian companies respect human rights across their supply chains but they are the necessary first step. Without transparency, we cannot ensure Australian companies respect human rights. And that is not good enough for Australia or for humanity.”
Read Sally Moyle’s full HuffPost blog on Australia and the proposed Modern Day Slavery Act here