VGC achieves Ethical Labour Standard

VGC achieves Ethical Labour Standard

VGC is the first labour supply company in the UK to achieve the new Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard (BES 6002:2017).

VGC is also the first company in the rail sector, and one of just three companies to date, to attain the Ethical Labour Standard (ELS).

The audit report said: “As one of the largest labour and staff suppliers to the UK’s construction and rail companies; and as a company that undertakes rail and construction contracts, VGC clearly has robust governance procedures in place.

“VGC has clearly demonstrated that it operates at a level well above the minimum requirements of the ELS. The senior managers interviewed clearly showed a personal commitment to the eradication of Modern Slavery and understood how their actions influenced wider behaviours and decisions in the business. Particularly strong areas include the company structure and management policies. There is a strong underlying culture of organisational responsibility and a genuine concern for the welfare of others at a senior management level.

“In line with their business strategy for 2018 and beyond, VGC has put in place an ambitious action plan to address potential risks of labour exploitation.”

A fundamental part of the VGC culture

VGC Ethical Labour Standard certificate

Ethical labour sourcing is a fundamental part of the VGC culture, from our mission statement and corporate objectives through to our processes and commitment to sustainable business practices. Our employees, clients and the wider communities in which we work benefit from the achievement of our sustainability objectives. As part of our ethos of driving fairness and ethics in the construction and rail industry, we participated in an industry stakeholder group who helped to develop the new  standard.

Dr Shamir Ghumra, BRE’s director of sustainable products, said: “The verification by VGC Group to the ELS marks another significant step forward for the industry on the subject of ethical labour sourcing. The commitment shown by senior VGC staff in achieving verification means that we have a major supplier of labour to the industry that will continue to look for improvements year on year.”

Ciara Pryce, group services director, said: “VGC has an ethical approach to how we treat our people and deliver our activities. It is a culture that is embedded in the fabric of the organisation. We will continue to build on this foundation and raise the bar in the support, development and protection of our people, using the ELS to benchmark, monitor and improve.”

John Hannan, HSQE director, added: “We are absolutely delighted not only to achieve the ELS, but to be the first labour supply company to do so. We are proud of the way this distinguishes us from our competitors in having auditable processes for preventing forced labour and human trafficking.”

Chris Ryan, operations director, said: “This independent verification is an important measure of how we deliver our policy of fairness and transparency. It also clearly shows our staff and our clients how we have embedded the issues of ethical labour supply and modern slavery throughout VGC.

Read more about VGC’s approach to fair employment.

To discuss how VGC can provide a skilled, safe workforce for your project, contact us.

Photograph: Ciara and Chris, centre, with VGC employees.

About the Ethical Labour Standard

The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are in some form of slavery in 167 countries, including around 11,700 in the UK.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 sets a benchmark for ethical business practice in the sourcing of labour. The Ethical Labour Standard was created to recognise those who wish to seek third-party assurance of their practices. ELS verification provides a framework for organisations to verify their systems and processes in relation to the Modern Slavery Act. It also provides a maturity pathway to make continuous improvements.

The standard is primarily intended for those organisations that work in the UK, while recognising these connected supply chains are often global.

BRE Global developed the standard in consultation with over 50 stakeholders. These included the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, HS2, non-governmental organisations and academics: VGC was also involved in the consultation and the development of the standard.

The ethical labour standard requires companies to prove that they have appropriate processes in place, and can demonstrate implementation through an audit trail in:

  • Organisational structure
  • Management structure
  • HR
  • Procurement
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Forums
  • Management policies
  • Immigration
  • Supply chain management
  • Learning and development
  • Reporting
  • Assurance and compliance.

BRE Global Limited (incorporating LPCB & BREEAM) is an independent third party approvals body offering certification of fire, security and sustainability products and services to an international market. BRE Global Limited is custodian of a number of brands including:

  • LPCB for the approval of fire and security products and services, listed in the Red Books
  • BREEAM, the environmental assessment method for buildings

BRE Global is owned by a charity called the BRE Trust, which is the largest single funder of education and research for the built environment.

VGC’s listing can be seen on GreenBookLive, BRE Global’s online database to help specifiers and end users identify products and services to help reduce their impact on the environment.