Blog Articles

By - Staff Editor

Published : 28-09-2018

What the heck is slavefreetrade, and what does it have to do with me?

slavefreetrade (all lower case, all one word, all the time) is pretty new, so not many people yet know what we do. In short, we are non-profit social entrepreneurs out to make every workplace in the world a better one. And let's start by being clear; we arrive at this mission from our ambition to eliminate modern slavery from business, in particular in making the things we all daily buy.

But, did you know that you don't even need to have a supply chain for us to help you? You can be an objectively verified good employer using our very method. Company. Government department, NGO. University. Anywhere that employs people. And, for a sweetener, would you like a 20% bump in your retail sales? Then, read on, Macduff (sorry, Shakespeare).

Briefly, on modern slavery

If you didn't know, here are some factoids:

  • 10s of millions - at least half of whom are children, and more than half are girls or women - of people work in conditions of modern slavery around the globe at any one time.
  • That slavery exists behind around 80% of the stuff you buy.
  • At least 71% of companies admit there is likely slavery behind the stuff you buy.
  • Only 6% of those companies can tell you what is going on with regard to the humans actually making your stuff.

But we hate focusing on the numbers. Being a pack of rabid optimists, we think those numbers can change for the better. How about you?

We are volunteering our butts off to do just that (you can too, if you like, anytime - just drop us a line).

Contrary to contemporary thinking on supply chain management, for us the units of measure are human; workplaces not products, working conditions not product characteristics. Our interest, after all, is making sure the humans doing the work are being looked after no matter what they do or where in the world they do it. And we offer you the opportunity to do just that every day and everywhere you operate.

World's First Social Label for Workplaces

As the world's first universal social label for workplace conditions, our methods and system are eminently applicable to all types of organisations, whether you want your supply chain made impervious to slavery, or your own work sites assessed and monitored for good working conditions. Imperviosity (feeling pretty sure that is not a word) to modern slavery is all about good workplaces; the continuous bright light we emit ensures modern slavery cannot creep in. As I said, you don't have to have a supply chain to be verified as a good place to work, and to show your respect for your employees by simply understanding their conditions better. We make you an independently, objectively "verified good employer", powered by our slavefreetrade method.

Tech Hybrid: Conventional and Blockchain

The way it works is this. We use our proprietary technology, a hybrid of conventional tech and blockchain, to virtually 'interview' employees right across an organisation. We do this in an anonymous and pretty secure 'zero-knowledge proof' way (if you don't know what zn-snarks are, then Google 'Ali Baba's Cave analogy') so that we know they are who they say they are, but no employee ever has anything to fear. Their answers to our interviews can not be traced to them. We analyse the result of the data and assess workplaces against our 10 principles of good workplaces; no forced labour, freedom of association, no child labour, and the like.

Over time, we map for change in your workplace conditions, and can show you exactly how your workplace has developed. We help you objectively understand the impact of measures you take to improve your workplaces. A real finger on the pulse of your workplace. It does not matter at all how many staff are in your employ: 50, 500, 5000, or 500,000. There is no upper limit on our scalability except server space; and we have that sorted.

Your workplace results are beautifully and simply brought to life for you in your own dashboard on our platform. You can zoom in or out of your workplaces and see how each place is scoring in a real-time, continuing, and actually pretty fun, way. There is a running sheet of developments in your workplaces. We provide a professional library so you can keep abreast of conceptual developments in supply chains and workplace management. You can visualise and explore your workplaces and/or supply chain on a map of the world and dig down to see what is happening anywhere and everywhere.

It is pretty awesome so far, right? We think so too, and, as a non-profit social enterprise, are so proud to be unveiling what has been almost 2 years in the making with our 100% volunteer workforce. You will excuse the enthusiasm, but it is pretty hard to keep under wraps.

The data set for your workplace is always being updated as soon as responses come in and you can see in a chart how your scoring is going at all times; reds, greens, and yellows. Lots more greens, we hope. But, if a red comes up, we then help you fix it.

Picture an Electrical Current

If you happen to buy anything (of course, pretty much every organisation does), then you enter the details of the suppliers of things you procure. They are then given the opportunity to enter our system too, and can also become verified. When they do, it creates a chain; whether it be your workplace, or your supply chain. Picture it like this: an 'electricity' channel running up to and through you, and everywhere you work. Each actor in your organisation or your supply chain acts like a switch on that current. When they become verified, their switch is turned to ‘on’. And the 'electricity' current is allowed to run to you. Once every actor in that workplace or supply chain is verified, the 'electricity' is getting through from the bottom of your organisation of your supply chain to the top; the circuit is complete. We will alert you when a chain 'goes green' (and you can see it on your map when it really, actually, does turn green). If you sell consumer goods, you are then licenced to carry the " slave-free" label on your goods. If you are an employer you can carry the organisational label of a verified good employer, powered by slavefreetrade.

B2C? Yes, B2C

And, if you are a retailer, so you are at the top end of the chain, with our consumer app your shoppers can scan the barcode of those products and see immediately the status of the chain, where the products come from, right back to the primary producers. And they can even remit a tip to the workers! We reckon ethical shoppers will love it and reward the heck out of you for being good corporate citizens.

Modern Slavery Reporting

If you operate in a country, such as the UK, or soon Australia, or any number of other markets including the EU, the net on corporate behaviour is closing. Supply chain due diligence and things like modern slavery statements are going to become the norm. On slavefreetrade's platform, you can just press a button and, voila, a .pdf of your entire workplace report is generated detailing the myriad ways you have dealt with making your workplaces, and your supply chain, impervious to modern slavery. That same click, if you choose, can also auto-submit your statement for you. Modern slavery statements have never been easier, nor more meaningful. And just think how that also looks in an annual report with all the numbers and charts you need to tell the world how demonstrably good an employer you are! And how free of slavery you are.

On top of all this, you can communicate securely and directly with anyone in your chain, or across your entire organisation, no matter what tier, right there in your dashboard. If you are a barista in London and you love the beans you just got a plantation in Guatemala, click to chat to the supplier and say so! If you are in London head office and your subsidiary is in Manila, ask how they are! It is as easy as one click.

There is SOOO much more to tell, because we are talking about nothing less than a revolution in making good employment a verifiable, objective, global norm. And making modern slavery in workplaces a thing of the past. Let's be clear, we do all of this to eradicate modern slavery, and, if we do ourselves out of a job, we will be the happiest bunch of unemployed people in the world.

More Cool B2B Things

Maybe just one last very cool thing for now, though, because it is simply too exciting to stop writing. If you want to buy or sell verified slave-free, you can find a slave-free trading partner to buy from, or sell to, right there from your dashboard (or using our phase 2 B2B app!)! If you do find a verified business partner, then the electricity already in your business partners can get through and you can go to your shoppers with the label firmly affixed and expect a 20% increase in your sales volume. You can find verified buyers and sellers right in your dashboard with search criteria like products and locations. You can connect with them. And, in phase 2, you can even place orders - and make and receive payments - right there in your dashboard.

So, how can we help you?

Do you care, and want to show you care, about the working conditions of your employees?

Would it help you in, not only your social responsibility efforts, but your recruitment efforts, and your annual reporting, to be clearly and demonstrably listening to every one of your employees? Showing you are a good company, with objective, independent proof of that in real-time?

  • Do you want to make sure you only buy things from suppliers who also take care of their employees?
  • Do you want to make it clear to your staff and your potential staff that you care about their conditions? Their engagement?
  • Are you are committed to both human rights and your employee's welfare?
  • Do you wish you had the means to make a modern slavery statement that is not just easy to prepare, but actually means something?
  • Do you want to be able to communicate to shoppers that your things are made without slavery? And have them reward you for your good actions by a bump in sales?

If you answered YES to any single, or all, of the above questions, then you need slavefreetrade. And we can help you achieve stunning results against even your loftiest ambitions.