2023 Mid-Year Review: Reflecting on the progress made by SFA and our Members

With the global business landscape constantly evolving and increasing in complexity, there is pressure on all of us to focus on ethical practices and change how we do business, balancing each element of the ESG agenda. A review of the work of SFA and its members in the first six months of 2023 reveals an array of actions and achievements, demonstrating the joint commitment between us and our members to further the journey towards responsible business practices and supply chain management. From new members joining the fold to comprehensive site assessments, worker interviews, and recommendations that reshape the trajectory of business operations, these efforts reflect the growing movement towards our member organisations addressing human rights issues and modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

Welcome to new SFA Members

We have welcomed nine new members to SFA, including HSG Facilities Management, and Hilton Foods, who recognise that a sustainable future hinges upon collective efforts in responsible supply chain engagement and workforce management. With their drive to change the way that they do business and set themselves new standards for social responsibility, these organisations, alongside our existing members, are collectively driving the business world towards a more responsible and conscientious future. At SFA, we are delighted and privileged to be working with them and supporting their journey.

Our Range of Services in Action 

Through a rigorous and comprehensive approach, the SFA community’s commitment so far in 2023 is evident in the execution of 25 site assessments in the UK and globally, which lay the foundation for informed decision-making and progress, with 276 recommendations evidencing a collective effort towards continuous improvement and raising the bar of operational standards2023 has also seen SFA complete 13 gap analyses, a testament to members commitment to identifying and addressing areas of risk within their business and paving the way for a more robust and resilient future. In addition, the review of 10 modern slavery statements and the delivery of 22 bespoke projects underlines SFA and its members’ commitment to ethical practices and transparencyThe team at SFA have felt privileged to work on many often complex and challenging projects with the common goal of preventing forced labour and exploitation.  

Learning Solutions 

A commitment to improving supplier management is incomplete without prioritising education and training. Our forward-looking members clearly know that progress can only be made with knowledge and awareness. With a significant number of training courses delivered so far in 2023, we are indeed a learning community, determined to raise awareness of modern slavery and exploitation and enable as many people as possible to have the skills to recognise and act if a case occurs. Furthermore, attendance has been strong at our three webinars and three Lunch ‘n’ Learns, highlighting the time invested in deepening knowledge and being part of the global debates. We are looking ahead to our Members’ Conference in September and an exciting programme for Anti-Slavery Week in October. At each event, we will deep dive into many of the current issues facing members, and from the level of response to our invitations, we look forward to sharing ideas and expertise with you.

As many members are now maturing on their anti-slavery journey, they recognise that if you understand what modern slavery and exploitation are, people will start to spot issues where employees are vulnerable or are being exploited. The next step is to know how to respond effectively. To address this need, SFA has now developed a new Disclosure and Escalation training programme, which can support organisations to take a victim-centric approach to resolving issues. We hope that more of our members will take the opportunity to join us and learn more about this sensitive area.

Final Thoughts

Finally, to reflect, the journey toward sustainable and ethical supply chains is marked by milestones that evidence our joint commitment and progress. Each site assessment, worker interview, recommendation and gap analysis contributes to the collective pursuit of responsible supplier management. From comprehensive training initiatives to collaborating to address human rights concerns, SFA and its membership embrace a holistic approach, positioning themselves as a standard for others to follow.

As Rachel Hartley, Consultancy Director, commented:

“These past 6 months have been a continual reminder of why I love being part of this organisation and supporting our business partners. We continue to have exciting growth that is extending our global footprint. We’ve recently delivered our first projects in West Africa and begun planning exciting work in South America and Southeast Asia. We’re navigating some complex risks with our business partners and implementing meaningful activities for social impact.”

As we recognise these collective achievements, we can see how they inspire even greater commitment to the cause, looking forward to a business landscape robustly committed to ending forced labour and exploitation.


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