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Spotlight Interview – Helen Carter | Action Sustainability – Modern Slavery in FM

Spotlight Interview – Helen Carter | Action Sustainability – Modern Slavery in FM
21 July 2022

Modern slavery and forced labour have a huge presence within facilities management, its supply chain and the wider built environment. ThisWeekinFM spoke to Helen Carter, Lead Consultant at Action Sustainability, to learn more about what modern slavery looks like within FM specifically, and what the sector can do to make improvements.

Helen is an experienced procurement professional who, over the last ten years, has worked with a number of clients including Network Rail, TFL, Skanska, Molson Coors, Balfour Beatty, United Utilities, WRAP, MOD and many more.

Modern slavery is a global issue, affecting 40.3 million victims worldwide, and can take the form of illegal practices such as sexual exploitation and debt bondage. Forced domestic servitude is also a modern slavery issue, as recently discussed by Sir Mo Farah, who shared his story of being trafficked to the UK as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant in Hounslow, West London.

Of these 40.3 million victims, 68 per cent  are involved in forced labour within big and small supply chains all over the world.

Thinking specifically about the facilities management supply chain, forced labour can be seen within several offshoots of the FM umbrella. Areas that are considered particularly high risk include cleaning, catering, waste management and security.

“It’s not just trades, it’s within products too,” Helen explains, “It’s buried in things like food products, uniforms, solar panels, batteries. So a large proportion of the products we purchase within the FM and built environment supply chain are affected.”

Watch Helen’s interview below to learn about the definition of modern slavery within FM, advice on how to address these challenges and how exploitation and forced labour link to other business issues.


Watch the Video



Visit the Supply Chain Sustainability School for free resources on making improvements within your business.

For support from Action Sustainability, click here.

Picture: a graphic of Helen Carter

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 July 2022


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