AskYourTeam has developed a new tool that shines a light on supply chain integrity and helps to stamp out modern slavery not only here at home, but around the world. And I have never been prouder.
Organisations, investors, consumers and increasingly governments, are demanding that businesses ensure that their supply chains are free from worker exploitation, and they want proof that this is happening on an ongoing basis, rather than the box-ticking of annual or bi-annual compliance audits.
Ethical VOICE is designed to do just that. It gives a voice to, and protects the most vulnerable and at risk workers, as well as bringing enhanced transparency and surety to supply chains. It not only helps to prevent modern slavery but help good employers become even better, improving worker retention and increasing motivation.
Modern slavery is the severe exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain. It exists in every country in the world, and Aotearoa New Zealand is not exempt from this despicable practice. The types of behaviours and conditions that meet the definition include unethical and unsafe working conditions, bullying, sexual abuse, humiliation, coercion, and entrapment.
New Zealand’s justice system is serving ever increasing penalties on those who flout employment and immigration laws and take advantage of migrant workers, many of whom have come to New Zealand in search of a better life.
"The horticulture sector – along with many others that rely on migrant labour – is at high risk for exploitation, and that’s why we partnered with NZ Apples and Pears to pilot Ethical VOICE across five apple companies, covering 1,524 workers in the region."
We developed this tool in our own backyard, Hawke’s Bay. Our region relies heavily on migrant workers under the RSE (recognised seasonal employer) scheme, and there are many thousands of RSE workers from across the Pacific working in orchards and vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and across the rest of New Zealand. Each plays a vital role in our economy. It’s only right that they enjoy the same rights and freedoms that we take for granted.
The horticulture sector – along with many others that rely on migrant labour – is at high risk for exploitation, and that’s why we partnered with NZ Apples and Pears to pilot Ethical VOICE across five apple companies, covering 1,524 workers in the region.
Key points of Ethical VOICE:
- Every single worker within a company structure has the opportunity to give feedback
- Identifies “toxic pockets”
- Responses are anonymous, giving workers the freedom to tell the truth
- Provides powerful data and insights to good employers
- Mobile first, online platform - workers only need a smartphone to give feedback
- Provides ongoing surety of compliance
- More effective than current, flawed “point in time audits” and self-assessment
Modern slavery is all around us, but often out of sight. That’s where Ethical VOICE has an important role to play to help stamp out this abominable practice.