Eileen Fisher’s leader of social consciousness Amy Fisher speaks with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about how the apparel sector can develop circular economy models. Eileen Fisher is already collecting previously worn clothing – some of which is then re-sold, some of it re-purposed into different garments. There are clear incentives that work, so that consumers will engage in terms of product return – Eileen Fisher offers a $5 voucher for every item brought back to a store. They debate the current barriers to repurposing at scale: the technology isn’t yet in place that allows for taking back thousands of items and extracting fibres for new clothing. But there are some exciting new business models with significant potential. 

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UK footwear brand Clarks’ global head of corporate responsibility, Anthea Carter, speaks with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about how new industry collaboration in the leather supply chain, including via the Leather Working Group. As a byproduct the leather sector’s ability to leverage has traditionally been lessened and there had been a tendency for the footwear sector to ignore aspects of the supply chain. Not now, though, as the industry is working harder to engage with raw material suppliers and recognising their supply risks. Carter argues the case for the footwear sector to work better with other leather buyers from the automotive and luxury goods sectors for cross-sector improvements. There is plenty of scope for innovation.

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Cotton Connect’s Alison Ward and Infor’s Kurt Cavano talk with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about how companies can benefit from the latest supply chain mapping innovations. There are many benefits of supplier mapping, but what are the key elements in an efficient mapping process? Ward and Cavano discuss how transparency makes supply chains – particularly in the apparel sector – more personal and helps companies take real ownership of their supply chains. They discuss the models that work and how they can be taken to scale, and the technology that can take things forward. There are lessons that can be applied across different sectors – and some typical characteristics that typify the companies that want to drive change while becoming more efficient and better businesses.

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Michael Smith, analyst with Ecovadis, talks with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about how companies are now beginning to look for modern slavery and labour risks beyond their tier 1 suppliers. They discuss what supply chain mapping actually means in practice, and the systems that companies are developing to uncover where their risks are and how to target resources effectively.

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Georgina Erangey, senior consultant at Sancroft, talks with Ian Welsh, Innovation Forum, about the challenges for companies engaging with the complexities of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act’s requirements. She argues that a whole company approach to disclosure is necessary, and this requires new and innovative solutions. A mindset change is required for companies to address forced labour as a supply chain issue. Companies have to challenge themselves to think not just about where products have come from, but the labour involved as well. The legislation landscape is evolving as companies accept that it simply doesn’t make business sense to profit from exploitation.

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Erin Lyon, director, Elevate, discusses with Innovation Forum's Ian Welsh why understanding a supply chain is the first step in being able to identify migration risks.

Lyon explains where companies can find information that helps them find out where the migration hot spots might be in their supply chains. While supply chains from one business to another are typically very different, industry groups can be helpful in identifying common risks. Companies have to ask where their future labour force is going to come from – only then will risk become more apparent.

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How have modern slavery reporting requirements affected actual corporate behaviour and the broader corporate responsibility agenda?

The changing legislative landscape has meant that companies are under pressure to be transparent on how they address modern slavery.

With the UK’s modern slavery act, similar legislation in California and now at a federal level in the US, plus developments in France, Australia and elsewhere, there is increasing regulation of businesses' disclosure and transparency on their approaches to identify, mitigate and eradicate modern slavery (and broader human rights impacts) within their operations and supply chains.

But, as businesses are tackling their human rights impacts, how is mandatory reporting in turn changing broader corporate behaviour and the role of business in society?

This webinar discussion is led by:

Vicky Dodman, programme manager, Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

Didier Bergeret, director, social sustainability and GSCP, Consumer Goods Forum

Georgina Erangey, senior consultant, Sancroft

Introduced and moderated by Ian Welsh, publishing director, Innovation Forum

Sponsored by Sancroft

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Phil Bloomer, chief executive of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, talks with Innovation Forum's Ian Welsh about the first two years of the UK's Modern Slavery Act, and how the best companies are using their now-required modern slavery reporting to drive anticipatory action. On the other hand, Bloomer points out, the first 1,700+ statements demonstrate that many companies simply had not been thinking about modern slavery until they were obliged to. The next steps should include an international approach to regulation that brings the best from new rules around the world and drives progress forward. 

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Dr Christopher Stewart, Olam’s global head, corporate responsibility and sustainability, discusses with Innovation Forum's Ian Welsh the company’s global operations, and particular in Gabon, and the challenges in developing sustainable agriculture plantations in forested areas that allow for local economic development at the least environmental impact. He outlines how the company has responded to activist criticisms, why Olam has agreed to a moratorium on new plantations in Gabon and the need for better boundary conditions around acceptable development. Smallholder farmers are a vitally important part of Olam’s future ability to trade in the commodities it supplies, and Stewart explains what Olam is doing to help smallholders grow their businesses sustainably.

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Winnifred Mailu, inclusive markets adviser – Africa, Christian Aid, speaks with Innovation Forum's Ian Welsh about why accessing markets is essential for smallholder farmers and how companies can help them to develop the necessary skills. Companies needs smallholder entrepreneurs to ensure supply security, and farming communities are increasingly seeing that there are real incentives for them to develop sustainably for long-term benefit.

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