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Ergon Update July 2016

Recent blogs

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark set to drive reporting and action: Laura Curtze looks at how the new Corporate Human Rights benchmark is impacting on transparency and due diligence.
Protecting children working in global supply chains: Matthew Waller discusses the current debates on child labour and due diligence.
Modern Slavery reporting landscape becomes clearer: Stuart Bell’s blog looks at Ergon’s most recent analysis of company statements on slavery and human trafficking.

Ergon @ events

Steve Gibbons spoke at the Innovation Forum conference on Forced Labour in early May and Ergon led a Modern slavery masterclass on due diligence and reporting the following day. Among others, participants came from the food, automotive, construction, oil & gas, banking, legal and auditing sectors.

Stuart Bell contributed to two Sedex webinars on tackling forced labour in supply chains in June.

Steve Gibbons gave a keynote address on modern slavery and human rights due diligence at Sainsbury’s annual supplier conference, provided technical input on these subjects to an AIM Progress members’ meeting, and also contributed to a Thomson Reuters webinar also on modern slavery in early July.

Ongoing and recent projects

Core labour standards in EU trade deals
As part of a major research project, we are working with the European Commission to develop and deploy a survey methodology to provide information on the application of core labour standards in selected countries with which the EU has signed association agreements or agreed trade preferences (so-called GSP+). Alastair Usher is leading this project. We are delighted to welcome Sarah McLeish back from maternity leave who will also be working on this project.

Construction in the Gulf  – worker welfare
We have been commissioned to undertake a worker welfare assessment of a significant construction project in the Middle East. The project will entail legal gap analysis, interviews with workers, managers and stakeholders, and development of an action plan. The work is being co-ordinated by Leila Merouchi and Steve Gibbons.

Living wage – developing and supporting new strategies
Building on our core expertise around the living wage agenda, we have been working with the FLA to provide strategic input into their Fair Compensation Strategy. Separately, for an international food product certifier, we are facilitating an internal workshop on a living wage strategy. Contact Alastair Usher for more information.

Human rights and modern slavery due diligence and reporting
Our modern slavery and human rights work continues to gather pace. We have been supporting multiple clients in developing processes that underpin their human rights and modern slavery reporting. These are customised assignments that vary according to industry, organisational complexity, existing due diligence processes and risk knowledge. Services provided include: development of in-house risk assessment tools, guidance on understanding risks and prioritisation, facilitation of internal conversations, verification of risks, assessing reports against external benchmarks. As an example, we have just completed an advisory assignment for a Swiss multi-national to support the development of a multi-departmental human rights due diligence process and reporting on human rights under the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Contact Steve Gibbons to discuss how we can assist in this field.

Infrastructure – labour restructuring
We are providing specialist input into a roads concession project preparation assignment in Croatia, looking at opportunities for socially responsible labour restructuring. The project is led by Stuart Bell.

Infrastructure - equal opportunities in the Kosovo rail sector
Anne-Marie Lévesque has just returned from Kosovo where we are working with the State rail infrastructure provider to develop a strategy to promote equal opportunities in training and employment, in order to support improved career transition paths for Kosovar women into formal employment in the transport sector.

Business case for childcare – case studies
Also as part of our gender workstream, we are working with the Washington DC-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research on an IFC-funded study evaluating the business case for employer-supported childcare in emerging economies, drawing evidence from ten case studies in a range of sectors and economies, including Jordan, India and South Africa. The research will result in a flagship publication for IFC and the World Bank. The project is being led by Kirsten Newitt.

Gender in extractives – support for equal opportunities
Working with local associates in Egypt, we have conducted a baseline assessment of equal opportunities for men and women in the oil and gas sector in Egypt and the wider Middle East and Gulf region, prior to designing an in-house equal opportunities programme. Pins Brown and Anne-Marie Lévesque are leading.

Women’s employment in agribusiness – business case research
We have just completed a major IFC-funded study identifying the contours of the business case for promoting decent employment opportunities in the agribusiness sector, comprising case studies in South Africa, Brazil, Solomon Islands and Vietnam. Contact Kirsten Newitt for more details.

Labour assessment – India
We undertake specialist project-specific labour assessments, often in conjunction with local partners. Brett Dodge has completed one such detailed labour assessment of a two-site manufacturing facility near Mumbai.

Ergon publications

What are companies reporting on modern slavery? We have updated our analysis of modern slavery statements in terms of who is reporting and what companies say they are doing. The updated report includes:
- analysis of the sectors, locations and sizes of companies reporting
- description of issues covered (policy, risk assessment processes, identified risks, training, performance  monitoring)
- length of statements and the level of detail they provide
- who has signed-off reports and how they have been published.
You can read our blog on the results here and the report, Reporting on Modern Slavery The current state of disclosure - May 2016,  can be downloaded here.

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Our work, views and activities


We produce a range of public guidance materials, alongside project specific guidance and tools; these range from ethical supply chain management to non-discrimination and worker accommodation. Click here for more information


We have produced a range of extensive reports on various subjects, from industry scoping, through risk assessment, through to substantial reports on international public policy. Click here for more information

Other resources

Ergon staff often speak at and facilitate conferences, provide podcasts and other various media. Click here for the Ergon blog

Ergon Associates Ltd