June 21, 2023

Beyond the front door: developing anti-slavery policies as an SME

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hold immense power to drive positive change. It is therefore crucial to recognise our responsibility in fostering ethical practices, including developing robust anti-slavery policies. We are making a difference across the country.

At EUMAR TECHNOLOGY LIMITED, we believe passionately we should lead where we can as a respected manufacturer for the medical market. We should also listen and learn from industry and leaders who are more evolved in this space. We have put in place a robust #antislavery practice throughout our supply chain and although we are not yet fully there, we’ve amassed a great deal of experience that we can share to help your own journeys too.

The power of SMEs

By embracing our role as responsible business owners, we can collectively shape a more #ethical and #sustainable future. At Eumar Technology, we can demonstrate how ethical policies can be integrated into their operations and supply chain. It is not always easy but it can be done.

A clear vision

Eumar Technology, like many SMEs, began with a vision and a commitment to make a difference. Our teams recognised the importance of addressing the potential for #humantrafficking and exploitation within our supply chain and the need to take proactive measures to combat these issues. By developing robust anti-slavery policies and systems, we now have a solid platform on which to push forward and make a bigger difference.

Not stopping at the policy

The policy was the first step but that alone is not enough. We needed to not only develop the policy but to own it as an entire company group and live it. For that reason we have made fundamental changes to our supply chain and HR support.

  • We keep our policy under regular review; it’s never ‘done’.
  • We have risk mapped and reviewed our supply chain and as necessary made important changes.
  • All our suppliers must provide their anti-slavery policies to us. If they themselves are not as advanced in anti-slavery awareness, we are taking steps to educate them. We believe in education and sharing, not closing the door.
  • Internally and externally we promote the indicators of modern slavery, through continued training, so trends and practice can be spotted by staff wherever it may occur; we need to remain vigilant in our local community as well as and in our supply chain.
  • Support and understanding is there for all staff should it be needed.

If we can do it, others can

Eumar Technology is a globally leading provider of medical devices and woundcare products, but we are an #sme and proud of it. We are developing our practice and education in this space, but the size and complexity of our industry has not stopped us taking a crucially important step forward in anti-slavery. Everyone at Eumar Technology believes they are making a difference. But to get to this point and beyond, we took some fundamental steps that have worked for us and that I recommend you incorporate into your own plans:

  1. Acknowledge the issue: Recognise the significance of human trafficking and its implications within global supply chains. Understand the responsibility we bear as SMEs to address this pressing concern.
  2. Assess and evaluate: Conduct a thorough evaluation of your supply chain to identify potential vulnerabilities. Assess the labour practices of your suppliers and identify areas where human trafficking risks may exist.
  3. Develop robust policies: Create anti-slavery policies that encompass zero-tolerance for human trafficking, forced labour, and modern slavery. Set clear expectations for suppliers, contractors, and stakeholders, outlining the ethical standards they must uphold.
  4. Collaborate and educate: Foster collaboration with suppliers, customers, and industry partners to share best practices and raise awareness. Provide training programs and resources to educate employees and stakeholders about human trafficking signs and prevention.
  5. Auditing and monitoring: Regularly audit your supply chain to ensure compliance with anti-slavery policies. Monitor and address any identified risks or instances of non-compliance promptly and effectively.
  6. Engage in collective initiatives: Join industry associations and initiatives dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. By collaborating with like-minded organisations, we amplify our impact and learn from each other’s experiences.
  7. Share your journey: Be transparent about your efforts and progress in developing anti-slavery policies. Share success stories, challenges, and lessons learned to inspire and encourage other SMEs to follow suit.

Many of us have had different experiences of the anti-slavery journey – for example in HR, supply chain sourcing, and management. We are more than happy to talk about our ongoing journey so get in touch.