May 17, 2020

Dun & Bradstreet: stopping slavery in the supply chain

Brian Alster, General Manager ...
4 min
Brian Alster, General Manager of Supply & Compliance at Dun & Bradstreet, shares his insight into the need for global supply chain transparency as a method of combating modern slavery
With the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimating 25mn people worldwide are trapped in forced labour, modern slavery is a very real issue for...

With the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimating 25mn people worldwide are trapped in forced labour, modern slavery is a very real issue for businesses across many different industries.

Recent figures released by the National Crime Agency showed a 10-fold increase in the number of suspected modern slavery cases in 2018 across UK local authorities. Last month, a group of retailers hosted a Modern Slavery Forum at the House of Lords to look at ways to tackle this critical supply chain issue and seek commitments from leading high street brands.

The European Union (EU) is actively pursuing policies to ensure better procurement decisions are made by businesses and the European Parliament (EP) is looking at EU-level rules on how public procurement can contribute to better functioning purchasing practices.

This raises interesting considerations about the ethical responsibilities of procurement professionals across Europe. In particular, the EP points out that “socially responsible public procurement must take into account supply chains and the risks associated with modern-day slavery, social dumping [a practice of using low-wage labour or moving production to a low-wage country] and human rights violations.” This effort makes sure that goods and services acquired via public procurement align with the European human rights protections, with new guidelines expected this year.

Australia has also recently introduced a modern slavery bill which not only requires large companies to publish annual statements on measures taken to address modern slavery, but is also trying to ensure modern slavery risks are identified and addressed in government procurement. Key elements would also apply to Australian companies and foreign entities carrying out business in Australia. The governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and US launched a call to action to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking during the 72nd Meeting of the UN General Assembly in 2017, and 80 countries have now endorsed it.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states, has also prioritised eradicating forced labour and modern-day slavery. Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, stated that the aim is “to build on outcomes of other international meetings, including the [UN] Call of Action to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking launched on the side-lines of the 72nd Meeting of the UN General Assembly.”

The UK is currently seeing the first convictions from the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, and the establishment of the office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has been a key lead in the UK effort to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. But what role will the United Kingdom take on socially-responsible procurement and how can businesses join in the mission to prevent modern day slavery in global supply chains?   


Global Supply chain transparency can identify riskier suppliers but policies can also help to increase diversity and small business engagement with government procurement.

The crimes of modern slavery and human trafficking have often been hidden behind a veil of secrecy, making them difficult to detect in supply chains. Supply chain transparency can help to identify potential illegal activity so that companies can develop mitigation plans to address these risks.

Mitigation plans cannot be a one-size-fits-all; they must be nimble enough to cover all industries and all regions of the globe. Technology can be used to help make supply chains transparent and identify low, medium and high risks. Mitigation plans can be established to review those medium and high-risk suppliers on a timeline that makes the most sense for each company’s unique supply chain.

The issue of supply chain transparency to identify and address risks must be a global initiative which has NGOs, governments and businesses working together. Through dynamic partnerships, we can tackle the growing global problem of preventing modern day slavery. We commend the important global policy work, but governments can’t go it alone.

Policy work to foster ethical public procurement and strengthen public-private partnership should be top on the agenda for 2019. Regardless of size and industry, businesses should come together, utilising data and analytics, to provide the needed transparency into global supply chains which will help companies and governments make more ethical procurement decisions.

NGOs and governments can help provide more granular details to ensure identification of the bad actors and make sure risk assessments can be built on the best and most up-to-date data, and businesses can take these risk assessments and build in policies and mitigation plans to ensure they’re doing business with the most ethical and trustworthy companies. Together we can tackle this global crisis.

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Jul 30, 2021

The Ultimate Procurement & Supply Chain Event

3 min
Take a look at our agenda for Procurement & Supply Chain Live, where innovation meets implementation, coming to you live from London

From September 28th-30th, network with C-level executives, gain insight from industry pioneers and walk away with actionable insights that accelerate your career. By the end of the week, we promise you’ll have the skills to solve the world’s most pressing supply chain and procurement challenges. 

The three-day show is an essential deep dive into the industry, with influential speakers sharing insights and strategies from their organisations, group roundtable discussions, and fireside chats. Whether you attend virtually or in person, you’ll strategise how to cope with global disruption, learn from industry leaders, and walk away with tips, tactics, and tangible connections. 


How to Attend


In a COVID-disrupted era, we know that the majority of people would rather avoid travelling for events─why take the risk, right? In response to the continued disruption, BizClik Media Group has decided that Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will offer the best of both worlds through hybrid accessibility. 

That means you and your peers can attend the event in person or virtually ─ with no disadvantages for people who choose not to make the trip to the Tobacco Dock venue. 




Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE will be held at the Tobacco Dock in London, an industry-leading venue that is renowned for delivering world-class events. For attendees’ peace of mind, the venue is working to the government-endorsed AEV All Secure Framework, alongside mia’s AIM Secure and ‘Good to Go’ accreditation, they will ensure that we achieve a COVID-secure environment to facilitate all of your networking needs. 




Our physical venue is both historic and stunning, but it has no bearing on the information that you and your peers can gain from the event. You can still absorb it all, interact with other attendees, and enjoy the conference experience on your alternative, virtual platform. 

The platform will feature live feeds from all of the stages, as well as virtual networking areas. So, if you want to avoid travel, it’s not a problem! You can still get involved and enjoy the entire experience from the comfort of your own home. 


What’s on the agenda?


With keynote addresses from global leaders, dynamic roundtable discussions, and extensive networking opportunities, Procurement & Supply Chain 2021 will expand your network, deliver insight, and enhance your organisation’s reach. 

Across the three-day event, a number of relevant topics and trends surrounding procurement and supply chain will be discussed. 


  • Tuesday 28 September - Digital supply chain
  • Procurement strategy (11:30 am)
  • Supply chain leaders forum (12:00 pm)
  • Women in supply chain (14:00 pm)
  • Procurement technology (14:30 pm) 
  • Wednesday 29 September - Procurement consulting
  • Sustainability (11:30 am) 
  • Supply chain management (12:00 pm) 
  • Digitalisation (14:00 pm)
  • Risk & Resilience (14:30 pm)
  • Thursday 30 September - APAC sessions (04:00 am)


Influential executives from around the world will give their insights and professional experiences surrounding these topics, allowing you and your company to leave with valuable information. 

The past year has shown how important supply chains are and the importance of managing them correctly. With increasing digitalisation across all industries, you won’t want to miss out on our great speakers and information surrounding this topic. Preparing your company for the future is key, and we are sure you will gain great insights at our three-day event. 

Order now to make the most of our early-bird offer. Ticket prices increase over 50% soon! For tickets and information, head over to our event site.

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