Baker McKenzie Assists Thomson Reuters Foundation in Launch of Stop Slavery Award
Baker McKenzie has provided pro bono support to The Thomson Reuters Foundation in the development and launch of the Foundation's Stop Slavery Award, the first global accolade to recognize businesses that have excelled in efforts to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains.
Baker McKenzie is proud to have worked closely with the Thomson Reuters Foundation," said Kevin Coon, Managing Partner of Baker McKenzie's Toronto office, who worked closely with the Foundation related to the Award. "The Baker McKenzie team, including Chris Burkett and Jennifer Bernardo, provided substantial thought leadership and support to the Foundation on this important initiative. We hope the Award, and the support we have provided, will help create a corporate race to the top to adopt global best practices with regard to business and human rights.”
Mr. Coon added, "We believe this Award will highlight and recognize those companies who are taking a leading role in the elimination of modern slavery and other abuses in their global supply chains, and inspire other corporations to follow suit."
The Firm's work on the Award is a follow up to the report the Baker McKenzie team prepared and delivered in November 2014 on “Managing Corporate Supply Chains: Challenges & Successes in the Fight to Combat Forced Labour and Human Trafficking," to the Thomson Reuters Foundation's Trust Women Annual Conference.
On April 8, the Firm will host a panel discussion at its New York office to celebrate the launch of the Stop Slavery Award. Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, will join a panel of experts to discuss global trends related to supply chain transparency, reporting, risks, and best practices in the area of business and human rights.
Baker McKenzie provided pro bono advice on the development of the award including the comprehensive questionnaire, which all corporate nominees must answer to qualify for consideration for the award. The questions aim to highlight best practices relating to elements of corporate behavior and transparency, focusing on corporate commitment, reporting, performance measurement, business partner engagement, training, risk assessment, business authentication, and investigation and remediation; as well as eliciting responses relating to leadership and innovation in supply chain management.
"We worked with the Thomson Reuters Foundation to identify a mechanism to bring attention to this pressing issue, then to develop the Award framework and questions that would encourage organizations who are at the forefront in advancing the fight against modern day slavery through their commitment to action, and their corporate policies and procedures," said Angela Vigil, Baker McKenzie's Director of Pro Bono and Community Service in North America. "The goal of the award was to set the bar high so that recipients of the award would be recognized for the innovative and high impact approaches they have applied to their global operations.
Winners of the Stop Slavery Award will be selected by a judging board composed of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi, global human rights and business expert John Ruggie, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus H. Vance Jr, Britain’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland, Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman, and international criminal prosecutor Patricia Sellers.
The Stop Slavery Award will be presented on Nov. 30 during the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Women conference in London.
Baker McKenzie has a proud history of partnering with the Thomson Reuters Foundation on its global initiatives. For example, the Firm's attorneys have participated in the annual Trust Women Conference, aimed at empowering women to know and defend their rights. In addition, Claudia Prado, a member of the Firm's Executive Committee, serves on the Trust Women Advisory Board.
"The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a powerful force for good, and Baker McKenzie is honored to support the organization as it promotes socio-economic progress and the rule of law worldwide," said Mr. Coon. "The Stop Slavery Award is yet another example of the Foundation undertaking work that will make a meaningful difference in protecting human rights."
Said Ms. Villa, “The Stop Slavery Award is not about naming and shaming, it’s about rewarding the courage of those businesses that have gone above and beyond to ensure their revenue is not tainted by modern-day slavery. At a time when shareholders are increasingly vigilant over the socio-economic footprint of many corporations, the Award is an important contribution to ensure that the fight against slavery is perceived both as a human rights priority, and a business imperative.”
Companies may apply for the award at stopslaveryaward.com.