NARTA has introduced the Modern Slavery Initiative (MSI), an industry focused program which supports businesses in reviewing practices within their supply chain to deliver best-in-class ethical standards and meet reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act 2018.

Since January 2021, NARTA members have been involved in this partnership to create best practice standards and advocate the protection of human rights, with a committee of retailers including Winning Group, JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee and E&S, as well as suppliers such as Samsung, Breville, Electrolux and Smeg.  

JB Hi-Fi supports the work of NARTA and in a statement shared with Appliance Retailer said, “This is an important initiative, and it is great to see retailers and suppliers in our industry come together to tackle modern slavery.” 

JB Hi-Fi Group launched its 2021 Sustainability Report this week and their focus on modern slavery across their global supply chain is a key pillar of their sustainability strategy.

E&S general manager for merchandise and marketing, Peter Barry said the retailer has been part of the group of NARTA members and suppliers committed to sourcing, manufacturing, and buying ethically and sustainably.

“The benefit NARTA brings to the industry is one approach and format for suppliers and retailers satisfying the compliance requirements for each of the NARTA members. The process has been very positive and collaborative, soliciting input from across the industry. What shone through this process was the passion and commitment from all parties involved in the group,” he told Appliance Retailer.

Winning Group CEO, John Winning said sustainability and corporate social responsibility is a core focus for the group.

“We are delighted to be part of the Modern Slavery Initiative and to collaborate to address a global issue. We are committed to using our business and ecosystem as a force for good, through our operations and our supply chain. We look forward to working with NARTA and our supply partners on this important journey,” he said.

Smeg is proud to be an active participant in the global movement against modern slavery and believes that with one step at a time, the exploitation and serious violation of people’s dignity and human rights will come to an end.

“Recent developments in Australia have shone a spotlight on modern slavery that is occurring around the world,” Smeg Australia managing director, Wayne Campbell told Appliance Retailer.

Campbell is working with other businesses on the committee to collaborate and use their influence to shift the way the issue has often been forgotten or overlooked.

“Smeg is committed to preventing any act of modern slavery within the business and this begins in our factories in Italy where the appliances are produced, through to importing the goods to Australia and ensuring they safely reach the hands of our customers,” he said.

“We are very proud of the emphasis we place on the high quality of our products, but we are even more proud of the steps that Smeg has and will continue to take on the journey to combat modern slavery. We also appreciate and thank all of the businesses who are doing their part to help.”

Breville president for Asia Pacific, Mark O’Kelly said the brand always seeks to exemplify fair human rights and labour practices around the world.

“Joining with NARTA’s Modern Slavery Initiative as a committee member is a further step we are taking in an overall effort to combat the risks of slavery and human trafficking,” he told Appliance Retailer.

Samsung said it is committed to using its resources and the power of technology for the greater good of the environment, people and society.

“As such, we welcome the opportunity to be part of NARTA’s inaugural Modern Slavery Initiative. We look forward to working closely with this collective group of industry leaders to help eliminate modern slavery in the consumer electronics industry,” the company said.

Through its procurement division, NARTA has already been carrying out reporting on supply chains for its members in several areas of indirect sourcing, including packaging, print and stationery.

This MSI now extends into the consumer electronics (CE) supply chain, where NARTA is facilitating the process through a standardised reporting system from suppliers, to assist members in meeting their requirements.

The standardised reporting system also assists suppliers in ensuring that member retailer reporting requirements are met, and to the best of the group’s ability, ethical sourcing practices across the CE supply chain can occur. This centralised reporting facility also eases the burden of multiple requests for information from retailers to suppliers.

The protection of workers’ welfare, human rights and the environment is a priority in the electronics industry, with a further need to increase transparency. The purpose of the Modern Slavery Initiative (MSI) is to bring together retailers and suppliers within the NARTA retail services network in upholding this social responsibility.

“Our work for the MSI is done alongside government groups with decisions underpinned by Australian legislation and best practice. Our collaborative approach to analysis and reporting aims to simplify communications and reporting issues to ultimately assist in ensuring participating businesses are doing their utmost with regard to the protection of worker’s rights in the supply chain,” NARTA said in a statement shared with Appliance Retailer.

All communication and documentation will be available to members through NartaNexus™, with the current timeline for reporting back from suppliers to be completed in August.