Construction sector reports growing awareness of modern slavery

18th June 2019

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Stu Meades

Seven in 10 companies across construction and infrastructure have improved their understanding of modern slavery issues in the last year, an annual survey has found.

This represents an 8% rise on the number of companies that said the same back in 2018, while 63% claim to have boosted their knowledge of fairness, inclusion and respect, up by 15%.

It was also found that 45% have increased their level of community engagement, which is unchanged from last year.

The survey was carried out by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, whose work was consistently credited with having a positive influence by the respondents.

“Having a well-structured sustainability strategy is critical to any organisation, regardless of size, said Phil Wright, sustainability advisor at the WP Group, which has partnered with the school.

“The survey results are testament to the school's excellent support and leadership in addressing the key issues that industry is facing, such as modern slavery.“

The Supply Chain Sustainability School catered for 5,723 individual learners from 3,036 companies last year, and now has 86 partner organisations.

Despite progress around modern slavery and fairness, inclusion and respect, the survey also found that the built environment sector remains slow to address some of its responsibilities.

Just 34% of the respondents said they had reduced their carbon emissions over the last year, down 3% on 2018, while the number that had cut their water consumption fell by 2% to 16%.

There was a modest rise of 5% in the number of companies that had improved air quality, bringing the total to 20%.

“Despite excellent results overall, I was disappointed to see relatively low figures on air quality and that the rate of carbon savings has actually gone down,“ said Supply Chain Sustainability School chair, Shaun McCarthy OBE.

“These are two issues critical to our wellbeing and to the future of society as we know it.

“We shall therefore be making a determined effort to focus attention on these areas in the coming year, as we look to build on our impressive performance across the board.“

Image credit: iStock


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