Upcoming sustainability events

Sedex are proud to announce partnerships with the following upcoming sustainability events, which are occurring within our industry and beyond. It is important to us as a business to help promote organisations who are also pushing for change in responsible sourcing, ethical practice and improving standards globally.


Pure Origin

Date: 22-24th July 2018

Venue: London Olympia

The Pure Origin event takes place in London on the 22nd-24th July 2018. This is an excellent opportunity for buyers, designers and retailers to meet with manufacturers and suppliers from across the world. Use this event to network with and connect to potential new business, and to understand more about sustainability within the fashion world.

There’s still time to get your free ticket, or apply for a stand at the Pure Origin event: https://www.purelondon.com/pure-origin

Ethical Corporation 6th Responsible Business Summit New York 2018

Date: 26-27th March 2018

Venue: · New York, USA

Sedex are pleased to be an exhibitor at this year’s Responsible Business Summit in New York.

The summit will be discussing how to “Transform Business. Create long-term impact for industry and society”.

Increasingly businesses are working together to deliver the ambitious partnerships that will help deliver the SDGs and more. The Responsible Business Summit New York is USA’s must-attend event for CEOs and business professionals looking to shape the future of sustainable and responsible business.


Gender equality in the workplace: business case tools and approaches for promoting gender equality in global supply chains

We are excited to invite you to a webinar about gender equality in the workplace, looking at approaches to increase inclusion and diversity in global supply chains. We will be exploring the positive link between gender equality, supply chain resilience and company performance. This will highlight the main gender equality issues faced by women workers in supply chains. We will also introduce tools and approaches you can use to monitor and address gender equality issues with suppliers, including how Sedex’s platform can support this.

Date: 10th April 2018, 3:00 pm GMT (10:00 am EST)


  • Aditi Mohapatra, Director, BSR
  • Laura Hawkesford, Ethical Trading Manager, Marks and Spencer
  • Katrin Kircheis, Member Learning & Development Manager, Sedex


Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6243539784491903235 

Modern Slavery & Human Rights in Supply Chain Conference

Date: 19-20th April 2018

Venue: Central London

The purpose of the 3rd Modern Slavery & Human Rights in Supply Chain Conference is to equip businesses with actionable insights and a good understanding of how the issues of forced labour and human rights abuse can be eradicated from their supply chain.

The Conference will provide a sufficiently distinctive, collaborative and solution-packed two-day agenda. You are guaranteed focussed corporate learning at its best through practical case studies, interactive roundtable discussions and open Q&As.

Led by the world’s top brands, you will hear from senior supply chain, compliance, and sustainability practitioners alongside leading policymakers, including;

  • ENGIE, Chief Procurement Officer, John Farley
  • Anglo American, Group Head of Government and International Relations, Froydis Cameron
  • Centrica, Director Risk & Controls – Procurement, Siwan Kalatzi
  • BBC Worldwide, Head of Ethics, Kevin O’Neill
  • Philips, Director Supplier Sustainability, Marcel Jacobs
  • M&S, Corporate Head of Human Rights, Food Sustainability (Plan A) & Food Packaging, Louise Nicholls
  • Foodbuy, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Duncan Gray
  • Sotheby’s, Director, HR Business Partner & Head of CSR London, Kathryn Ward

Get a full overview of the conference with your event brochure here: https://front-group.co.uk/modernslavery/brochure/

Register your place today and receive your 10% discount – enter “FG10” here: https://front-group.co.uk/modernslavery/registration/


British PM — companies must be vigilant and responsive to the risks of modern slavery within supply chains

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, addressed dignitaries at The World Economic Forum at Davos in January stating, “companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content”. Speaking on wider issues of economic importance, the PM highlights corporate social responsibility amongst issues at the forefront for businesses worldwide.


Care International and King’s College London amongst others commended The Modern Slavery Act (2015), in structuring a framework for companies to evaluate risk within supply chains and tackle problems. However, NGO Anti-Slavery International recently said, “the act doesn’t legally guarantee the kind of support the victims receive. The result is that the care victims receive is inconsistent.”


According to the proposer of The Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill — Lord McColl; the legislation attempts to bridge the gap in the current Act. However, having entered parliamentary discussions last year it has since lacked Government support. Given the British PM’s Davos comments and attempts by Lord McColl to improve modern slavery legislation; companies must start to critically analyse their own practices in order to facilitate change throughout the supply chain.


In order to assist companies continue the conversation on the pressing issue of modern slavery, Front Group Ltd have introduced the Third Modern Slavery and Human Rights in Supply Chain Conference taking place on 19-20 April in Central London. Over 150 delegates from more than 15 industries are expected to be in attendance.


Representatives from BBC Worldwide, M&S, Philips, Debenhams, AngloAmerican, Engie and Co-op will be speaking at the event. Past attendees included EY, JLL, KPMG and Virgin Atlantic. Industries associated with this conference comprises of FMCG, utilities, extractives, media, retail, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors.


Dmitry Elizarov believes that May’s statement of intent to world influencers tied together with businesses political influence creates the environment to host progressive conversations beneficial to solving issues of modern slavery in supply chains. The Front Group Ltd Director expands further — “we want to facilitate a forum where businesses can discuss progress and practical solutions with regards to the greatest tests within this field.”


Further details of the conference, speakers and the agenda can be found here: https://front-group.co.uk/modernslavery/


For additional questions regarding attending, speaking or sponsorship; please contact Dmitry Elizarov (dmitry@front-group.co.uk) or on +44 203 397 6587

Elise Groulx Diggs: Lawyers must be creative and innovative

Elise Groulx Diggs: Lawyers must be creative and innovative

By Danial Naqvi


In a recent interview with Front Group, Elise Groulx Diggs shares her insights as a human rights lawyer. An associate tenant of Doughty Street Chambers, she is a lawyer based in Washington D.C., with knowledge of international developments in modern slavery and human rights issues. She insists that lawyers need to become more innovative in their approach to advising corporations tackle modern slavery issues.


Globally, the UK is the leader of modern slavery legislation says Groulx Diggs, the Modern Slavery Act (2015) provided a platform and a model that other countries can use to take appropriate steps to help the global fight. She called the UK MSA a “good first step”. Groulx Diggs adds:


“[Companies active in this field to the release of the MSA] welcome the new transparency in supply chain provision as they believe that their organisations have been acting responsibly already and that the new provisions will force other businesses to raise their standards and create a more level playing field.”


As new laws, thereafter, came into place in the USA and France — Groulx Diggs says lawyers must now act “proactively” with clients, a role that lawyers are not always trained to perform and do not propose to clients.


The emphasis on “creativity”, “innovation” and “leadership” throughout the interview shows the direction that Groulx Diggs sees for the new field of business and human rights. She remains enthusiastic and optimistic about the prospects of modern slavery being tackled by all concerned actors including corporations.  The adoption of more and more legislation and regulation supports this movement. A recent French law, adopted in March 2017 and entitled “Duty of Vigilance Act”, strongly encourage companies to “engage with all stakeholders” in order to comply with its requirements.


Given the ambiguity in the language of the French law, Groulx Diggs suggests that lawyers must find new angles to accompany companies as they try comply with the law. Striving to be compliant will enable corporate actors to avoid being “named and shamed” by media and NGOs. However, she does say that companies up to this point have not set aside serious budgets to help them comply and adopt these new principles as part of their core operations.


Before the UK MSA (2015) came the California Transparency in the Supply Chain Act (2010) which Groulx Diggs labels as “ground-breaking” at the time. Furthermore, the Trade Facilitation Act (2016) in the USA could also help change the nature of trade and impose new compliance requirements on the goods and commodities that can enter legally into the United States. Groulx Diggs explained that the amendment to the Trade Act (1930) limits import of goods known to have been produced by child labour or forced labor practices. She comments:


“NGOs and trade associations in the US have initiated lawsuit… This is an indirect tool to address issues of Modern Slavery. It could be a very powerful tool if it’s properly used. Corporations have to conduct due diligence to discover if there is slavery happening in their supply chains. If not, they could be caught by surprise and risk long delays and disruption of their trade operations at the border.”


The severity of new laws doesn’t stop there. India has been working hard to guarantee its workers are paid the national minimum wage. Companies and subcontractors that don’t pay the minimum wage are considered to be contributing to slavery, according to Groulx Diggs. This is where lawyers must be more “proactive” and show imagination in tackling these issues with their clients first by raising awareness and in helping improve compliance.


Regulation and proposals for new legislation may seem progressive but the consequences of restricting imports from modern slavery locations can have unexpected consequences that were not perceived at first. A bill in the Netherlands to completely ban child labour, expected to be in force in 2020, has met with problems before the Dutch Senate making it uncertain it will become law as Groulx Diggs explains:


“If you’re sure that you’re not going to import products that have been tainted by child labour it means that you have to support the families, because often in places like India and Bangladesh the children are working because the families need income to survive. You have to improve adult wages and find ways to send kids to school.”


This roadblock is under debate before the Dutch parliament, where it is a poignant topic of conversation related to ideas of social progress and ethical and sustainable development.


Finally, Groulx Diggs mentions how corporate lawyers can learn to engage creatively with human rights lawyers and make these endeavours more beneficial for all concerned, including NGOs and corporate actors:


“Since the profession in a way is saturated with old ideas and old ways of doing things, this is an opportunity to have an integrated approach bringing different sectors of the law together to solve these complex problems and develop also a transnational approach.”


In all, Groulx Diggs provides an all-round insight into how lawyers in the field of human rights and modern slavery, can help corporations take the next steps in the right direction. Governments are starting to play their roles in various jurisdictions (bills covering modern slavery are pending before Australia and Hong Kong to name but a few). Contemporary approaches introduced by the legal profession exercising leadership will make a difference for corporations looking forward.


The issues of Modern Slavery and Human Rights will be discussed further at the upcoming Modern Slavery & Human Rights in Supply Chain Conference on 19-20 April in London. Confirmed speakers include Adidas, Co-op, Engie, Debenhams, Centrica, M&S, Marshalls, NXP Semiconductors, BBC Worldwide, Sanofi and many more. Find out more here: https://front-group.co.uk/modernslavery/brochure/


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