Biffa has today (13 October) launched a campaign in partnership with charity Hope for Justice to raise awareness of modern slavery in the waste sector.
The campaign will see Biffa’s waste collection trucks re-branded to highlight Biffa’s ‘Zero-Tolerance to Modern Slavery approach’, and comes ahead of National Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October.
The waste sector is seen as attractive to the perpetrators of modern slavery and trafficking, which Hope for Justice put down to it having “many supply chains”, making it easier to infiltrate the victims “upstream and down” (see letsrecycle.com story).
- The campaign sees Biffa waste collection trucks re-branded to highlight Biffa’s ‘Zero-Tolerance to Modern Slavery’
- The trucks will be deployed in London, Peterborough, Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester
- Biffa said it is sending a powerful message that it is 'taking a proactive approach to combat modern slavery'
Biffa says it became acutely aware of modern slavery in the past after being targeted by traffickers through unwitting managed service suppliers, but “quickly spotted there was an issue and worked with the labour provider and Hope for Justice to address the problem”.
Since then, Biffa says it has made strides to protect itself from any further modern slavery penetration and has even set itself the target to become the acknowledged leader in anti-slavery practices within the UK waste sector by 2025.
Biffa added that all relevant employees in the business receive training on modern slavery prevention. To support this there is also a guidebook to help staff spot the different types of modern slavery, including how to follow-up and report concerns.
Michael Topham, chief executive at Biffa, said: “Sadly, modern slavery is a growing problem across the world and the criminals perpetrating it are known to target the waste management industry with forced labour.
“Along with embedding anti-slavery policies and procedures across our business, we feel that part of our responsibility is to raise awareness of the issue of modern slavery in our sector. Our latest campaign sends a powerful message that we are taking a proactive approach to combat modern slavery and will take a zero-tolerance approach to this sort of activity.”
As part of the campaign, 10 trucks will be deployed in locations where the risk of modern slavery is particularly prevalent, namely London, Peterborough, Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester.
“We hope many people will see these branded waste collection trucks and go online to learn how to spot the main indicators of modern slavery”
Hannah Symons, corporate and supporter relations manager at Hope for Justice, said:“ At Hope for Justice, we believe that awareness leads to action, so it is fantastic to see Biffa taking such highly visible steps to show that it has zero tolerance to modern slavery and to educate the wider public about the realities of this brutal yet hidden crime.
“We hope many people will see these branded waste collection trucks and go online to learn how to spot the main indicators of modern slavery in their communities, and what to do about it if they do suspect something. More than half of the victims we have helped as a charity first came to our attention because someone who used our resources decided to get in touch having seen something that concerned them.”