Supermarket giant ALDI has welcomed the introduction of The Modern Slavery Act and is already working with suppliers to stamp out slavery in supply chains.
The new laws, which were passed by the federal parliament on Thursday, require Australian businesses with turnovers of more than $100 million to publish annual reports on the steps they are taking to address modern slavery in their operations.
Daniel Baker, ALDI Australia’s corporate responsibility director, said the laws play an important role in creating awareness.
“There is no place for modern slavery in our business or our extended supply chains. ALDI welcomes the Modern Slavery Bill as it is set to play an important role in creating awareness of this issue, and more importantly, it will build the required accountability in the practices of Australian businesses,” Baker said.
While the majority of ALDI’s suppliers are based in Australia, its supply chain is “diverse” and a percentage of products are manufactured off shore.
“We acknowledge the risks associated with running a business in a globalised economy—in particular the risks associated with modern slavery—and have taken a number of steps to mitigate them,” the company said in a statement.
ALDI announced that it has partnered with the Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility to train suppliers in child labour prevention and remediation.
It is also working collaboratively with Stronger Together initiative, a not-for-profit organisation that helps companies businesses of all sizes to tackle cases of forced labour, labour trafficking and other labour exploitation in supply chains.
The supermarket’s Social Standards in Production include no use of forced or bonded labour; no use of child labour; payment of legal minimum wages and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.
It has also introduced a Social Monitoring Program to improve working conditions at production facilities, particularly those in high risk countries or product categories.
The United Nations estimates that more than 40 million people around the world are modern-day slaves.
ALDI said this is “unacceptable” and runs “counter to the internationally agreed Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to ALDI’s values”.
“We anticipate the positive impact the Modern Slavery Bill will have globally on human rights issues. As a business, we embrace the opportunity to continue practicing, and working towards, taking a stance against modern slavery,” the company said.