Tackling modern slavery: New white paper addresses the construction industry’s biggest blight

Five-year low for new contracts in construction sector
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Alex Kosev

With modern slavery built into the fabric of global construction, experts and academics have come together to tackle the catalogue of human rights issues which plague the construction industry.

Professor Jacqui Glass, of Loughborough University’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, is campaigning to combat human rights abuses, outdated cultural approaches and unethical working practices.

Last week, she was involved in the publication of a white paper which sets out eight pathways to ethical and responsible sourcing for building contractors, clients, distributors and professional bodies.

The Action Programme on Responsible and Ethical Sourcing (APRES) white paper, published through building science centre BRE, aims to address issues such as modern slavery, which the Global Slavery Index estimates effects some 45.8 million people across 167 countries.

The white paper also hopes to bring to people’s attention other critical issues such as bribery, corruption, labour and workers’ rights and sustainable development, and advises ways to ensure ethical and proper practice.

Prof Glass, the APRES programme leader, said: “The idea of responsible and ethical sourcing is really taking hold in the construction and civil engineering sector.

“Our network, APRES, has helped to raise awareness and deliver industry-friendly guidance on this since 2010, so I am delighted we’ve been able to work with the BRE Trust to create this important new document.

“Put simply, the white paper is an eight-step guide to embedding best practice in your business – and is structured around very practical things you can do – starting from today.

“It’s been sense-checked by industry experts, and is free, easy to use, and apply in any type of organisation.”