On November 11, 2021, Assent Compliance, the global leader in supply chain data management and transparency, announced that one of its subject matter experts (SMEs), Abiola Okpechi, PhD, has been named as co-chair for the Social Responsibility Alliance (SRA), a global initiative dedicated to helping companies build socially responsible supply chains through the collection of sourcing data.

Abiola is Assent’s Business and Human Rights SME and will serve alongside Elaine Mitchel-Hill, Business and Human Rights Director at Marshalls Plc, a UK-based manufacturer of natural stone and concrete hard landscaping products, supplying the construction, home improvement, and landscape markets. The two leaders will begin their two-year term as co-chairs of the Development Committee beginning this month and succeed Travis Miller, General Counsel, Assent, and Rita Kuhlman, Supply Chain Compliance Manager, Allegion.

Founded in 2017, the SRA initiative works to more broadly facilitate the collection of human and labor rights data in global supply chains to ignite change and improve the lives of those impacted by human rights violations. The SRA’s Development Committee is one of the alliance’s working groups and directly manages the Slavery and Trafficking Risk Template (STRT) — a free, open-source industry-standard template that is regularly updated by the alliance.

“The speed of developments in the human rights supply chain legal landscape is staggering,” said Abiola. “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. As well, this year is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, and we’ve already seen from the new global estimates that the pandemic has rolled back progress. The pressure is now upon 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 companies the ability to accelerate their efforts and hit the ground running.”

According to Mitchel-Hill: “There are two key strengths to the STRT. First, it removes any barriers to organizations of all sizes to engage and begin mapping their supply chains and work to identify risk. It’s free and readily available to download and to use. It can be integrated within an organization’s own systems and processes, or simply be shared with suppliers, as part of a tender process, for example, as an Excel spreadsheet. The Excel version remains an excellent tool for getting the data and information from smaller organizations, or those in the less formal sectors.

“Secondly, the SRA’s global Development Committee ensures a rigorous process that includes constantly reviewing regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations to ensure that the STRT remains more than fit for purpose. The hard work has been done.”

Specifically, Marshalls uses the STRT in a number of ways to great effect. They have built the STRT into its procurement due diligence process, and use it within ongoing human rights due diligence systems, and in bid and tender processes.

The STRT helps companies in their efforts to comply with human trafficking and modern slavery legislation and to improve their supply chain-related public disclosures, which is focal to rapidly expanding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs at corporations across the world. The template is in use by thousands of companies today and is also the foundation for Assent Compliance Platform’s Human Trafficking and Slavery Module.The STRT helps companies and their suppliers work together to build socially responsible supply chains by facilitating accurate data collection delivering great insight, monitoring capabilities, and actionable data.

The mission of the SRA is to provide companies throughout the supply chain with the data tools needed to build socially responsible supply chains in response to regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations. By facilitating the collection of human and labor rights data, the alliance catalyzes continuous improvement in the global supply chains and the lives for those working within them.

About Assent Compliance

Assent is the global leader in supply chain data management, insights, and transparency solutions. Combining leading-edge SaaS and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with extensive supply chain expertise through its on-staff SME team, Assent helps companies collect and manage third-party global supply chain data to maintain and increase local market accessibility, protect corporate brand reputation, and reduce operational and financial risk. Assent is among only a handful of North American software and computer services companies that holds “advanced status” with the United Nations Global Compact, a ranking in recognition of advanced corporate sustainability performance and disclosure. For more information, contact us today.

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