Date published 8 November 2021

Elaine Mitchel-Hill, Business and Human Rights Director at Marshalls has been elected Co-Chair of the Social Responsibility Alliance (SRA Social Responsibility Alliance), along with Abiola Okpechi, business & human rights expert at Assent Compliance.

The SRA is responsible for the development and maintenance of the open source Slavery & Trafficking Risk Template (STRT), and related guidance and support information, all of which is freely available for any organisation to download and use. Founded in 2017, the initiative works to facilitate the collection of human and labour rights data in global supply chains, to help identify human rights risks and ultimately improve the lives of those affected.

Elaine said, “There are two key strengths to the STRT. Firstly it removes any barriers to organisations of all sizes engaging and beginning to map their supply chains and working to identify risk; it’s is freely available to download and to use. It can be integrated within an organisations own systems and processes, or simply be shared with suppliers, or as part of a tender process, as an excel spreadsheet. Marshalls uses the STRT in a number of ways to great effect. The excel versions remains an excellent tool for getting the data and information from smaller organisations, or those in the less formal sectors. Secondly, the global development committee ensures a rigorous process which includes constantly reviewing regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations and ensuring that the STRT remains more than fit for purpose. The STRT is free, and the hard work has been done.”

Abiola commented, “The speed of developments in the human rights supply chain legal landscape is staggering. EU legislative developments, such as the German SCDD Act and Norwegian Transparency Act, will drive a massive increase in the number of companies engaging in human right due diligence activities. This year is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, and we’ve already seen from the new global estimates that the pandemic has rolled back progress. The pressure is now really and truly on companies of all sizes to understand their supply chains and to be able to produce clear and robust evidence as to their efforts to ‘know and show’ how they impact the rights of others. The STRT offers a means of hitting the ground running.”

Both Elaine and Abiola are strategically aligned and during their two year tenure look forward to working with the SRA to further increase the uptake of the STRT, expanding committee membership in key countries and to working with UN partners to demonstrate the value the STRT in difficult geographies. They agree that lessons learned in such fragile contexts will offer significant insights into the increasing complexities in global supply chains, especially as we consider the realities and practicalities of mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence in the wake of the global pandemic.

For more information

You can download the Slavery & Trafficking Risk Template on the Social Responsibility Alliance website and find out more about the work that Marshalls does in this area by visiting our Human Rights information.

For further information about joining the SRA development committee please contact Elaine Mitchell Hill or Abiola Okpechi.