2018 annual UK TOP100 corporate modern slavery influencers’ index rankings announced

Safia Minney, MBE, has been recognised as the #9 influencer in the inaugural 2018 Annual UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index.

Index recognises individuals from all business sectors, third sector, media and academia who are influencers in raising awareness to end modern slavery and labour exploitation.

top100index Safia Minney
The inaugural 2018 Annual UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index, co-created and co-curated by BRE and Sustain Worldwide, has been conceived to simultaneously raise awareness of modern slavery and labour exploitation while recognising the key influencers who are supporting its eradication. Anti-trafficking charity Hope for Justice is the official charitable partner.
The Index is based on the combination of influence on social media, as measured by Kred scores, and advocacy – policy input, speaking and media engagement – in public life, which is evaluated by desktop research. The two metrics are then aggregated via a proprietary algorithm and evenly weighted to produce the final rankings. An independent panel has verified the Index’s transparency, impartiality and robustness.

The rankings were announced on 26 September by Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE at a Recognition Dinner held at RIBA, Central London.
Safia Minney addressed more than 100 of her fellow influencers and guests at the Recognition Dinner, said:
“I am honoured to be recognised as having influence as part of this movement against modern slavery. We must all stand up for what is just and decent as human beings. For me, it’s been a personal journey of 30 years, and through the generations, as my great grand-mother was a bonded labourer in a sugar plantation. My passion and anger comes from seeing the violence and institutional corruption that silences, exploits, and abuses human beings. Our legal systems are largely dysfunctional in the developing world, where private security forces vastly out-number the police, who are in any case often corrupt. Victims of human trafficking, child labour, and forced and bonded workers rarely have recourse to the law or safe-haven. I’ve dedicated my life to proving Fair Trade and ethical business is economically possible. We all say that slavery is abhorrent, shocking and disgraceful, but we continue to buy products and services that are clearly made by people in slavery. The middle and professional classes are absolutely complicit in this. They can afford to buy and support Fair Trade and ethical brands and help create a level playing field, so these better brands like People Tree and Po-Zu, can thrive and continue to set the agenda for change.
We need to overhaul international trade. We need import controls for companies where there is not credible evidence that their workers and sub-contractors’ workers, are paid the local living wage. People around the world care and have worked tirelessly to build and be part of the Fair Trade and organic movement, but now we need effective policy from the UK and other governments.”

The rankings of the 2018 Top100 influencers can be viewed at www.MSA4Construction.com/Top100Index2018Rankings/

Safia Minney MBE is Founder of People Tree and has been a pioneer in ethical business and a campaigner for corporate accountability and eco-friendly lifestyle for more than 30 years, here and in Japan.  Safia has established Fair Trade supply chain solutions, initiated World Fair Trade Day with the WFTO, and has defined PR and marketing campaigns and the strategic directions needed to reach new markets. At the heart of everything she has done has been a creative force and passion to deliver social impact, human rights and sustainability. Safia is currently managing director of ethical footwear brand, Po-Zu and is author of 9 books, including ‘Slave to Fashion’, which exposes modern slavery in the fashion industry.

Modern Slavery is an ‘umbrella’ term for labour exploitation, forced labour, child labour and human trafficking. In 2017, 5,145 potential victims were referred to Britain’s National Referral Mechanism, a 35 per cent increase on the previous year. The UK Government has estimated there are between 10,000-13,000 people held in modern slavery in Britain today. The Global Slavery Index has estimated there are 45.8million people across 167 countries in modern day slavery.

Po-Zu will be running a 25% website wide sales promotion of slavery-free, ethically produced sustainable footwear to celebrate, use code GLOBAL25 

Safia says: “So honoured, thank you #sustainworldwide, lovely to be in a room amongst such an inspiring community, with great friends Livia (@liviafirth) and Lucy (@theseagull). Please join me to take a stand and only buy slavery free products.”

 

 

20 February 2018 is the United Nations’ “World Day of Social Justice”

The theme for 2018 is – Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice.

Safia writes:

I started as a human rights activist, then became an ecologist and then realised that I needed to become a social entrepreneur to prove that business could be done differently. That business could be a cause for rights violations and it could also be a huge power for good.

That farmers and the makers of our clothes, shoes, food and social justice can be central to good business. With Fair Trade, citizens can promote social inclusion and environmental justice and hold large corporations accountable. Today, empower the workers by bringing the “ME TOO”, campaign awareness to include the rights of women who make up the bulk of our fashion work force in the developing world.

When researching for my book, Slave to Fashion, I met with Elizabeth Khumallambam in Gurgaon, near Delhi. She is senior co-ordinator of Nari Shakti Manch, which campaigns and supports women migrant workers whose rights are violated.

Extract-from-Safia-Minney-Book--Slave-to-Fashion

‘We organize migrant women in the community and work at a political, economic and social level to address the problems they face,’ Elizabeth tells me. ‘They are exploited as they are totally unaware of their rights.
In the garment industry, they are badly paid and not given regular work. In their communities they are forced to buy groceries at a shop in the building where they rent a room at exorbitant prices. If they try to buy from cheaper shops, they get in trouble.’” read the full interview with Elizabeth Khumallambam, reference page 80-81, Slave to Fashion.

SEEMA’s story:

I am 32 years old and have two sons, aged 14 and 18. I started working in the garment industry seven years ago. I began in leather, cutting threads. When I made a mistake, my line manager stabbed me in the thigh with his pencil until it bled. I slapped him to defend myself, so they fired me. They tore up the paper which showed how many days I had worked and refused to pay me. I got a new job doing other piece-rate work, and now I am working as a tailor.
A lot of problems are due to the line managers: they try to find fault with our work. They told me, ‘If you start a relationship with me, I will overlook your mistakes.’ When I bent down to pick something up, they would make lewd comments:
‘I can see your body parts.’ They offered me money to have sexual relations with them. I feel humiliated, I feel ashamed to be a woman. I have children, I need to work. I wish I didn’t have to come to Delhi, but I have no choice. I work in a small factory now, as I was denied work with larger fashion factories because I publicly reported the harassment and was blacklisted from larger factories. I am in a desperate situation; I don’t have enough to eat; I have a big bill at the food-ration shop in my apartment block and I am obliged to buy provisions from there. Also, my husband left me and married another woman. For the last three months I have been unable to send money home for my sons, 24 hours away by train in Jacar. Why are women not looked at the same way as men? I come out of the house and I want the same status, but I am not treated equally. Don’t say that it is wrong for women to work. I have two children and I cannot pay my bills. I cannot raise my children without a job. Don’t be prejudiced against women, give us equality! I need a job with overtime for 12,000 rupees ($180) a month to survive. Extract Slave to Fashion.

Livia Firth, Creative Director & CEO of Eco-Age shares her message for World Day of Social Justice:

“Sustainable fashion is all about the people in the supply chain – what we call the handprint of fashion, is made by millions of invisible people working all over the world  to produce the clothes that we wear. It is fundamental that they are treated with the same respect as we would treat ourselves and sadly today that is not the case. One only has to read Safia’s book Slave to Fashion to understand that a change is imperative”.

Sven Segal, Founder, Po-Zu:

“I started Po-Zu, the ethical footwear company, because I couldn’t stand seeing people suffering and wanted to be part of the solution, not part of a system built on social injustice”. (read more about ethical footwear at BetterShoes.org)

Social justice is possible when we remove barriers based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. Find out more here: 

Follow and support and celebrate #SocialJusticeDay on Safia’s social media here

 

Black Friday, or ‘Buy Nothing’ Day

Whilst running  Ethical and Fair Trade businesses over the last two decades, events such as a SALE or BLACK FRIDAY and CYBER MONDAY always fill me with gloom…and if I’m honest, irritation.

po-zu_black-friday

Why, you may ask?

Well, this is because the present economic system is utterly dysfunctional, corrupt and largely bankrupt and as a result conventional companies and their customers already enjoy vastly subsidised goods and services – as they are largely made without reflecting the true cost in terms of fair wage for workers and rarely treat the environment as a limited resource.

A post shared by Safia Minney (@slavetofash) on


On the other hand, ethical businesses strive to pay these costs AND compete against sweatshop and highly polluting product – and are then expected to  discount their prices too? They barely manage to make a profit as it is.  This is NOT because they are badly run by ‘do-gooder hippies’ who don’t understand design, finance or the economies of scale; this is because they compete in an un-level playing field and don’t have the budgets of big business to ‘buy cool’ celebrities or bill boards and advertising, because they haven’t amassed huge funds from Modern Slavery and tax havens etc.

That social and ethical businesses have no support in the form of tax incentives, R&D support and with little subsidy to slow capital is shocking and immoral.

Sure, there’s the odd prize and acknowledgment here and there – but it’s not enough to turbo charge the shift to sustainable business practice, education and a sustainable economy.

Resisting the temptation of huge offers on Black Friday is tough. Here’s some options:

You could only buy sustainable, ethical or local products.
You could buy that expensive discounted wallpaper but then send an email to the company asking them about their ethics, why FSC certification is not on their website? for example.
You could Make and Mend in rebellion to the whole thing.
OR….
you could BUY NOTHING and invest in sustainable business –
– like Po-Zu. {https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/po-zu-1/pitches/lePweq}

Capital At Risk

Interestingly Patagonia’s ‘DON’T BUY THIS JACKET’ Ad in the New York Times generated huge sales of the same jacket.

Their “All sales today goes to sustainable charities” on Black Friday last year generated $10 million dollars towards sustainability whilst the company continues to improve its manufacture of products in terms of climate, sustainability and a fairer deal for workers..and importantly customer education.  We need large companies to follow their lead; we urgently need to support ethical businesses and we desperately need to exercise our power as citizens on Black Friday.

WATCH: The True Cost Movie
READ: Slave to Fashion
INVEST: In Ethical Businesses