Posted by Stuart Bell

Ergon Update: November 2017 – forthcoming events, new publications, current projects


The value of ‘counting’ in modern slavery due diligence: Brett Dodge looks at the recent attempts to estimate the number of modern slavery victims and argues that, headline-grabbing as they may be, these sorts of statistics may be of limited use for supply chain due diligence.

New Home Office guidance on Modern Slavery statements: what’s changed? Lis Cunha reviews the current guidance from the UK government on what companies should put in their public modern slavery statements.


Deep-dive due diligence training, London

We are about to complete the final 2017 round of a three -day programme for the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). This training offers a deep-dive into how to adopt a human rights due diligence approach to managing risk in supply chains.
We are pleased to report that this innovative series of workshops, supplemented by participant-led extension work, has been very well-received by participants. The next cycle will run on: 8 February, 1 March and 20 March 2018 – all dates at the ETI venue in London.  We can offer members of our network a 20% discount on the non-ETI member price. Please use the code Ergon when booking through the ETI site.

German Global Compact, Berlin

On December 7th, Steve Gibbons and Laura Curtze will be in Berlin facilitating workshops at a conference co-hosted by the German Global Compact Network and the Alliance for Integrity. The conference marks the first anniversary of the publication of the German National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and aims to bring together European perspectives on business and human rights as well as to provide an opportunity to discuss practical challenges and opportunities. Participation is free and more details as well as the registration link are available here.

UN Forum, Geneva and associated events

Steve Gibbons and Laura Curtze will also be attending the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva from 27-29 November. Please do get in touch if you want to meet up during the forum.
Steve will also speak at the event organised by ETI on human rights grievance mechanisms on 30 November and at the Sporting Chance Forum on 1 December – both also in Geneva.


Child labour in the primary production of sugarcane: The ILO has just published this sector study, written by Ergon’s Pins Brown and Catherine Morgans, which looks at the scale and prevalence of decent work deficits in the sugar cane industry, with a special focus on child labour. It also contains recommendations for how the ILO can increase engagement with businesses in the sector.

Tackling childcare: The business case for employer-supported childcare: Ergon contributed case studies to this flagship IFC report looking at the business benefits of childcare provision and support. Ergon staff (Pins Brown and Kirsten Newitt) carried out site visits and interviews at Borusan Holding in Turkey (heavy industry), Afrifresh in South Africa (agribusiness) and Safaricom in Kenya (telecommunications).


Our work continues to expand in terms of the variety of issues that clients bring to us, the geography and sectors affected and the modalities we develop to deliver for clients. Some selected current assignments include:

  • Modern slavery & human rights: we are conducting supply chain assessments, benchmarking modern slavery reports, and providing strategic support for companies on forced labour and other human rights issues in sectors such as: hotels, banking, supermarkets, apparel, property management, delivery & fulfilment, and building materials.
  • Supplier engagement: we are developing enhanced supplier monitoring processes and supplier capacity-building on labour standards for an on-line apparel retailer and a UK supermarket.
  • Toolkits and guidance notes: we are developing toolkits and good practice guides on managing construction contractors in relation to OHS, implementing human rights due diligence in the oil & gas sector, and managing company and sectoral grievance mechanisms.
  • Sectoral research: studies are in train for the Jordanian garment sector and for cotton in Greece.
  • Site-specific impact assessments and implementation: recent examples include work in the utility sector in Mauritius, the electricity industry in Vietnam and the solar energy industry in Egypt.
  • Gap analyses and country risk profiles: we have looked into comparative human trafficking legislation in the USA and completed country labour risk assessments for Lebanon, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
  • Facilitation and training: we are running a variety of workshops and capacity-building events for international organisations, multi-stakeholder platforms, brands and financial institutions. These are generally aimed at creating common understanding of issues, developing strategy or workshopping action-plans.


Ergon Americas
In recognition of our increasing activities in both North and Latin America, we have established a subsidiary, Ergon Americas Inc, registered in New York. This provides a platform to service client requirements, undertake local field research and grow our business in the region. Enquiries about our regional services should be directed to Anne-Marie Levesque, Vice-President.

New colleague: Macduy Ngo
We are pleased to welcome Macduy Ngo as a new Researcher. Mac has practised as a lawyer specialising in labour, employment, and human rights. In this capacity, he gained exposure to a wide range of industrial relations issues as well as alternative dispute resolution processes. He has degrees from Dalhousie University, Canada, and University College London.