WesCEF - Ethical and inclusive sourcing

WesCEF supports a culture of ethical behaviour and basic human rights of respect, equality and fairness in its operations and supply chains. Unethical sourcing and modern slavery should not be tolerated and every effort is made to protect individuals from being exploited by improving the integrity and quality of WesCEF supply chains.

In collaboration with Bureau Veritas (BV), a global company that assists businesses with reducing risks, WesCEF established a program that identifies high-risk suppliers that may not meet expected standards. These high-risk suppliers are required to complete a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) process and/or provide evidence of a social audit having been completed in the past three years. WesCEF and BV then determine if the completed responses are satisfactory or if further action, such as a physical audit, is needed to verify the supplier’s standards of conduct and ethics. The program provides WesCEF and the supplier with a mechanism to help manage any non-compliances that are identified during the physical audit, through the implementation of a Remediation Action Plan (RAP).

As an example, in the 2023 financial year, an international audit was completed that highlighted seven non-compliances and prompted the requirement for a RAP. The RAP led to the identification of corrective actions that were agreed to by the supplier and BV revisited the supplier’s site to verify action completion. All four high-risk actions have been verified as complete, with three low-risk actions remaining for management between WesCEF and the supplier.

WesCEF continues to be a member of the Human Rights Resources and Energy collaborative (HRREc) group, with other companies such as Rio Tinto, South32, Alcoa, and BHP. The group’s primary objectives are to work collaboratively to consider wider labour rights issues and apply a human rights risk lens across the sector, while identifying and developing good practice for human rights and modern slavery risk management. Given the volume of shipping activities in which WesCEF is involved, the business also participates in the HRREc shipping workstream focusing on seafarer welfare. This is a high-risk area requiring oversight of labour availability, the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and ship scheduling to ensure that all workers can access appropriate shore leave.

WesCEF continues to educate its team members on the risks of modern slavery, with 52 team members trained or retrained during the year.

Another significant consideration for WesCEF is reducing the barriers to engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses as suppliers. The benefits are numerous and far-reaching as financial support flows into local Indigenous communities and the broader economy. As a result, WesCEF initiated the Aboriginal Procurement Working Group to establish processes and a fit-for-purpose framework that outlines how to effectively engage with potential Indigenous suppliers. During the 2023 financial year, WesCEF increased its spend with certified Indigenous businesses to $1,834,273, an increase of 99 per cent compared to last year. More information on WesCEF’s initiatives in this area are detailed in the case study.

Next financial year, WesCEF will focus on ongoing engagement with its commercial and supply chain team members and suppliers to enable more effective risk assessments, audits and management of outstanding low-risk actions associated with ethical sourcing non-compliances. In addition, Wesfarmers’ approach to ethical sourcing and critical breach criteria will be incorporated into WesCEF’s BV-facilitated audits and reporting. WesCEF’s Aboriginal Procurement Working Group will look at further opportunities to increase Indigenous business engagements in the 2024 financial year.