Round-table held on 5th May 2020

Download agile/visual notes (PDF)

Natascha Schaller from Cochlear has produced excellent, one page agile notes on the session. Well worth a look.


About the Round-table

One key reporting requirement of the Modern Slavery Act is for organisations to show evidence that they have identified their modern slavery risks. And for the first organisations, the first deadline in the MSA Act is not far away.

Assessing these risks in wide and complex supply chains can seem like an overwhelming exercise. How can an organisation possibly do that across thousands of suppliers operating in so many different countries?

This round table session helped many participants navigate through different approaches to undertake modern slavery supply chain risk assessment – particularly in this time of constrained financial and human resources and with very diverting priorities as the crisis develops. How can MSA still be relevant inwardly wondered more than a few perhaps? Yet nobody is letting us off the hook – MSA is still the law, and Australian business nothing but compliant.

The expert presenter, Jean-Louis Haie from KPMG Banarra, began with a short presentation of typical challenges and solutions such as using risk indicators, supplier evaluation systems, third party risk modules…

Most of the session then became dedicated to a practical conversation around participants own challenges and how they could be managed – highlighted by the group as a top 6 concerns:

  1.  One early problem was the challenge of communicating MSA issues and actions within a decentralised business model – in the current crisis, so many of our colleagues have other priorities.

  2.  A second common issue was the poor completion of surveys by suppliers, and their suppliers – how to get them to submit the data our strategies (and compliance) need?

  3.  Thirdly, risk assessment has to be priorities and segmented – by industry. How can we comply to a common standard across all suppliers, when the risk assessment work can be so pointed (by industry)?

  4.  Fourth – the ever present problem of engaging our supplier’s suppliers and the best way to approach a multi-tiered supply chain – sometimes without the 100% commitment and support of our primary tier one supplier?

  5.  How do we win the argument for resources to help address the large amount of work required to make a difference

  6.  Where to find information on your own supply chain – covered in detail by Jean-Louis during the session, with multiple suggestions from the group as well. Tools and trainers were also mentioned.

A key question was, why should the MSA issue still be high priority for organisations that might be struggling to survive during or after the post-pandemic crisis?

In short, the discussion highlighted that mandatory compliance is not actually optional, but the law! Also, brand reputational damage was still prevalent, investors still had demands – certainly in high-risk industries, as do customers, staff & suppliers. Aligning these interests with your business drivers was recommended.

Risk mapping workshops by supplier, by industry, by sector, by category and by region or country was an essential first step for many.

This workload might be shared with the new post-crisis priority of reassessing security of supply RISKS on inbound supply chains – which many procurement managers might be undertaking?

In summary then:  “alignment – policy – information – risk – priority – action”  is a useful way of thinking through steps on implementation.