Konica Minolta wins human rights award

Konica Minolta wins human rights award
Cooke encourages businesses to look at their suppliers, business, and partners, to avoid negatively affecting human rights

Konica Minolta has won a Human Rights Award in the Business category for 2018, for promoting human rights in its business and supply chain, including its work to stamp out slavery.   

The Human Rights Award is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia, highlighting the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms.   

Dr David Cooke, managing director, Konica Minolta Australia, says, “Konica Minolta has been actively involved in supporting human rights and has made significant efforts to not only ensure it has practices in place to ensure the ethical management of its own supply chain, but has also provided resources, raised awareness and worked with the government for changes to be made to address the issues of modern slavery in Australia and internationally.

"As well as ongoing community partnership programs, we are dedicated through our efforts and influence to improve the quality of life for people affected by modern slavery or unfair work practices throughout the supply chain. Increasingly, we are finding customers and employees are moved to work with companies that have purpose and diversity, and are committed to doing the right thing.

“We’re humbled to have received this Australian Human Rights Commission Award, and we thank all of the nominees for their initiatives and commitment to human rights. Doing what we can to uphold human rights isn’t just the right thing to do, it is a necessity if we are going to build a society where every individual is empowered to achieve their full potential.

“This not only provides a platform to demonstrate the inspiring work the team at Konica Minolta is doing, but also to encourage other businesses to look inward at the impact of their core business and operations, as well as those of their suppliers or business partners, to avoid negatively affecting human rights.”

Konica Minolta, under Cooke’s leadership, have been working to stamp slavery out of its supply chains, and compelling other businesses to do the same.

Through its Ethical Sourcing Roadmap, the company prioritises contracts with ethical suppliers.

The company has hired human rights experts to implement its policies, including Nicole D’Souza, ethical sourcing manager, Konica Minolta Australia, who started in her role in August.

D’Souza explains, “I have a human rights law background, and my predecessor was a human rights specialist. It is an important message that Konica has made, taking a human-rights approach, and respecting the advice that the experts have given. It has given a whole new field of understanding to how business operates.

“For print manufacturers, and the electronics industry, conflict minerals are a big challenge, and a well-known area of modern slavery.

“It is important to understand that the raw materials used in these manufacturing products can come from conflict zones.

“This is why all businesses need to be in this together, one business cannot drive the change for how these materials are extracted from the ground, and how people should be paid for doing so.

“We need to conduct audits and checks, and pick the right places to source some of our conflict materials.

“Any business that has a sales or marketing arm, your brand affiliated merchandise, uniforms, pens, books, need to be sourced sustainably. This is to ensure that there is no child labour, or enforced labour or recruitment used in those processes as part of the purchasing that you are doing.”

Konica Minolta was also a strong supporter of the incoming Modern Slavery Act, coming into law on January 1, which will require businesses and other organisations above a consolidated revenue of $100m to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and the action they have taken to assess and address those risks, and the effectiveness of their response.

Smaller businesses will be able to report voluntarily.

To ensure high-level engagement with the Modern Slavery Act, the statement has to be approved by the board of directors or equivalent and signed by a director.

Konica Minolta Australia has also implemented a family violence leave policy and has a commitment to gender and diversity equality.

Source: Australian Printer

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