Building and civil engineering firm, Sir Robert McAlpine, has become the first construction contractor to achieve accreditation by the BRE’s Ethical Labour Sourcing (ELS) standard.
The BRE, an independent certification and standards firm, developed the Standard (BES 6002) in February 2017 as a response to the UK’s Modern Slavery Act. Consisting of twelve individual issue areas, the Standard provides third party assurance that firms apply proper due diligence around human rights and embed ethical approaches when sourcing materials, products and services.
As the video created by award-winning anti-slavery film charity Unchosen, illustrates below, modern slavery and forced labour has the potential to exist in any construction project’s supply chain:
Your Construction Project: An animation on Modern Slavery in the Construction Industry.
Whilst, due to its very nature, the number of victims of modern slavery in the UK is very difficult to estimate (previous estimates of between 10,000 and 13,000 people now acknowledged to be just “the tip of the iceberg”), these figures don’t reflect the complex supply chains in many sectors, particularly in the construction sector whose supply chains – particularly amongst Tier 1 contractors – can stretch globally.
Quoted in Planning & Building Control Today magazine, new Chief Executive of Sir Robert McAlpine Paul Hammer said:
“Forced labour can have no place on Britain’s construction projects; it is an unseen and evil practice that must be stopped. Our business is working incredibly hard to demonstrate that Sir Robert McAlpine will not tolerate it and this Ethical Labour Sourcing accreditation is testament to our commitment. I congratulate BRE for shining a light on this important subject and look forward to seeing other contractors follow our lead.”
Dr Shamir Ghumra, Director of Sustainable Products at BRE, added:
“We would like to congratulate Sir Robert McAlpine in becoming the first ELS-verified contractor. We hope this will spur on more organisations into identifying opportunities to improve their ethical practices and help eradicate the evils of enforced labour and modern slavery, and help the industry as a whole raise its operating standards.”
Download the Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard guidelines.
Modern Slavery Q&A – Gov.UK
Modern Slavery Helpine – Call 08000 121 700 or file a report