Eight pathways launched to combat unethical practices in construction supply chains

A new eight stage action programme called APRES, has been released by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to support the responsible and ethical sourcing of materials, products and people. This call to action has been created in partnership with Loughborough University and presents eight pathways to best practice to combat modern slavery and unethical practices in supply chains. The pathways aim to take organisations and individuals from the level of ‘Baseline’ to ‘Best in Class’ performance.

Professor Jacqui Glass, Chair of Architecture and Sustainable Construction at Loughborough University and APRES programme leader, said: “UK public scrutiny of employment standards and labour rights intensified significantly in 2015 with the introduction of the Living Wage and the Modern Slavery Act.

“It seemed inevitable that tough questions would start getting asked about organisations’ and companies’ ethical policies and practices. In construction, known for its long and complex global supply chains, these questions do not simply stop at the entrance to the building site, or even the UK border.

“The APRES Eight Pathways Model is an important new contribution to knowledge. It builds on academic research, market intelligence, co-created insights, plus sound management systems and practices from some of the leaders in the field. It answers the fundamental question – how do I embed the right practices in my business?”

The pathways are based on the critical areas of operation in a business: from initial policy-making, via compliance, right through to PR and continuous improvement. The journey to take an organisation from where it is now on responsible and ethical sourcing to where it ultimately wants to be, begins with some very practical steps.

The pathways are designed to be implemented over time, via four stages – preparation (Plan), action (Do), review (Check) and refinement (Improve) – and along eight Pathways. 1 Organisation Strategy and Policies; 2 Management Systems; 3 Assurance: Compliance & Auditing; 4 Assurance: Reporting; 5 Procurement; 6 Financial Management; 7 HR, Recruitment, Staff Training & Development; 8 Communications, External Relations & PR.

Not all eight pathways’ elements need to operate concurrently – a staggered progression is envisaged. Approaching the implementation process as a journey, involving distance travelled with a sense of direction over time, is a good mindset to adopt, rather than simply seeking to be incrementally better today, than yesterday.

Dr Shamir Ghumra, Director Sustainable Products at BRE, the home of APRES, said: “Accountability is an absolute must for supply-chain excellence and sustainable procurement in the 21st century – the pressure from both public and commercial parties to demonstrate transparency and traceability is not going to go away. The APRES Eight Pathways Model holds the keys to progress and success.”

The APRES Eight Pathways Model will be presented at the annual APRES Conference to be held on 22 November 2017. The event, this year entitled ‘Risk & Responsibility: The Evolution of Supply Chain Data and Business Culture’, is sponsored by BSI and CARES and will be hosted at QEII Centre, Westminster, London. Participants include Co-op, Debenhams and EDF. More information from apres.bre.co.uk.

For further information on the APRES Eight Pathways Model Tel: 0333 321 88 11 or visit www.bregroup.com