Biffa, a leading national recycling and waste management provider, has now become a founding member of the Slave-Free Alliance and is raising awareness during Anti-Slavery Day
The alliance is led by global charity Hope for Justice, with the aim of ending human trafficking and modern slavery. The membership scheme is for businesses of all sizes who want to protect their employees and ensure workers are not exploited.
The Global Slavery Index estimates that 136,000 people are subject to modern slavery in the UK and the waste sector is one of the most vulnerable to traffickers, alongside car washes, nail salons, agriculture and low-skilled factory work. A survey commissioned by the Ethical Training Initiative with Hult Research has also revealed that 77% of companies expect to find modern slavery in their operations or supply chains[i].
This week, Biffa is raising awareness of Anti-Slavery Day by issuing e-Learning training across its workforce to help managers recognise the signs of human trafficking and those who may be vulnerable.
Education packs have also been sent to employees, including a guide book to help them spot the signs of the different types of modern slavery and how to report concerns. Anti-Slavery awareness posters have been distributed to sites in multiple languages as well as an external case study highlighting the severity of the situations facing victims internationally.
In addition, Biffa is also urging suppliers to become members of the alliance, to ensure every part of its supply chain is working in an ethical and responsible way.
Over the last few years, Biffa has worked closely with Hope for Justice to further awareness and training within the company, with key successes including a confidential whistle-blowing hot line being promoted within sites and questionnaires being distributed to active suppliers.
Melanie Flogdell, Divisional HR Director at Biffa, said, “Businesses in all sectors are concerned about discovering workers who are victims of modern-day slavery in their supply chains and we want to ensure our staff know what to look for and how to respond.
“Modern-day slavery is a huge problem in the UK and one that every business has a responsibility to help eliminate. We’re proud to be in alliance with Hope for Justice, and strive to raise awareness, not only across our company and amongst our suppliers, but throughout the waste industry as a whole.”
Paul Callum, Director at Slave-Free Alliance, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Biffa as a founding member of the Slave-Free Alliance, which has continued to grow rapidly since our launch just a few months ago. We know the waste and recycling sector has been particularly targeted by traffickers, so it is great to see leading players in the industry, like Biffa, take such strong and proactive action to protect their operations and supply chains from modern slavery. We look forward to continuing our close work with Biffa in the months and years to come.”
As well as issuing education packs and an e-learning module across the company, Biffa has invited Susan Banister, Head of Business Development at the Slave-Free Alliance, to visit one of Biffa’s facilities in the Midlands during Anti-Slavery Day to hold a talk with staff about the work of the charity.
Biffa will also be inviting its suppliers to sites over the next few months to meet with Susan, in the hopes it will encourage them to follow their lead and become Slave-Free Alliance members.