Green Gown Awards 2018 - University of Edinburgh - Finalist

Tags: Green Gown Awards 2018 | University of Edinburgh | benefitting society

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According to the Global Slavery Index, over 40 million people are thought to be enslaved across the world today, including tens of thousands in the UK. Universities have a role to play in reducing the risk of modern slavery locally and globally, through awareness-raising, and effective policy and practice. In light of the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015), the University of Edinburgh has developed a whole-institution approach, going beyond the legal reporting requirements which focus on our own human resources and our supply chains, to take steps also in relation to awareness-raising, international collaborations, fundraising, and investments.

Since 2016, the University has coordinated a working group; included modern slavery requirements in terms and conditions for goods and services contracts; produced online staff training on modern slavery; engaged with fund managers about further embedding human rights requirements in our investments; and implemented a campaign of events and social media, reaching over 15,000 people.

Top 3 learnings:

  • Legislation can be used as a catalyst for bringing stakeholders together to work on particular issues, paving the way for more in-depth efforts that go beyond the legal requirements.
  • Most people are unaware of the true extent to which exploitation and modern slavery exists in the UK and globally today – we have an opportunity to raise awareness and offer guidance.
  • Modern slavery can be an entry point for student interest and involvement in human rights in supply chains work more broadly.