2019 Sedex Southeast Asia Conference

On 4th November, Sedex held the 2019 Southeast Asia Conference in Thailand at the Bangkok Marriot Marquis Queen’s Park. It is the second year running for the event and it has become one of Asia’s most influential responsible business conferences.

Conference Highlights

  • Over 120 delegates from 15 countries joined together for the conference.
  • Prominent speakers and leaders from government, NGOs, local and global brands, suppliers and other stakeholders attended to focus on ’the importance of being a responsible business’.
  • Allison Hudson, Sedex Director of Customer Services and Walter Lin, Sedex Managing Director – Asia, addressed key issues in the Asian supply chain, including upholding human rights and decent work, and how to be a responsible business
  • Esther Tsang, a panel moderator from The Body Shop challenged the audience to build a more comprehensive Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) management system to improve risk control.
  • On the next day following the conference, Sedex & the International Labour Organization held a workshop to support businesses and organisations implement responsible business practices and meet international labour standards.


Conference Sessions Overview

Part Ⅰ: Responsible Business Practices in the Supply Chains

Walter Lin, Sedex Managing Director – Asia
Walter shared the new Sedex vision to drive organisations globally to improve the lives of the people they impact, and how Sedex tools and services can help businesses improve responsible business practices in Asian supply chains.

Hugh Van Es, Managing Director, Swarovski Gemstones (Thailand) Ltd
Swarovski is trying to drive positive change in their own company and more widely within the industry. They call this conscious luxury – a new way of doing business that puts compassion and sustainability at the heart of the business.

Harsha V Reddy, Head of Global Sustainability, Indorama Ventures PCL
Indorama are guaranteeing the health and safety of their products, employees and contractors by providing learning and development opportunities to all staff and promoting recycling and educational awareness in society. Indorama are reducing the impacts of their products during the use phase and promoting ways to include recyclability.

Part Ⅱ: Labour and Human Rights in Supply Chains

Fredy Guayacan, Manager of RSCA Programme, ILO
ILO advocated that although the aggregated labour market picture is somewhat positive, there is still a long way to go in bringing all workers in the Asia-Pacific region closer to conditions of decent work and shared prosperity. At the enterprise level, sustainability means operating a business to grow and earn profit, recognizing the economic and social aspirations of people inside and outside the organization on whom the enterprise depends, as well as the impact on the natural environment. Long-term viability implies that the management of enterprises should be based on the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. This allows enterprises to create wealth and decent work.

Prad Kerdpairoj, Human Rights Manager, Thai Union Group PCL
Thai Union Group have launched global whistleblowing channels accessible to all 49,000+ employees. The pilot will improve effectiveness of internal worker voice channels in key factories. This is a pioneering collaboration model between the employer (Thai Union), recruitment agents, and NGO partners to monitor the entire recruitment process and provide remedy to workers. They promote decent working conditions on fishing vessels.

Bhawna Yadav, Regional Social and Human Rights Manager South Asia and ASEAN, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB)
2019 will be year of transition as RB work out the strategic direction they wish to take in the next decade. RB has published Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and Responsible Business for the supply chain, which promotes how to implement the requirements.

Abdul Mottaleb, Managing Director, Global Sustainable Certification Services Ltd. (GSCS)
Abdul highlighted the most challenging areas of labour audits in the region, which include

  • Falsified information and double record keeping identifications
  • Consecutive overtime worked
  • Effectiveness of FoA/Trade Union/grievance mechanisms

Part Ⅲ: Driving Safety and Health Working Condition in Supply Chains

Harold Hai, Vice President, TÜV Rheinland Hong Kong Ltd.
TÜV Rheinland shared audit findings on EHS and new regulations in Southeast Asia. He highlighted that chemical safety non-compliances show up in audits due to:
• No plan and test for prevention of and response to hazardous chemical emergency
• No Chemical safety training
• Operators did not use PPE

Herdial Singh, Regional Director – Quality & Business Excellence, Agility Logistics Services Pte Ltd
Agility Logistics Services fosters a work culture where each individual is responsible for everyone’s safety. Employees, and especially front-line operations staff, view reporting incidents as an essential part of building a safe work environment. Those employees that are most vulnerable to Health & Safety risks are often not sitting in front of computers. Agility’s suite of mobile applications helps everyone play a role in ensuring a healthy workplace.

Sritharan Kandasamy, Senior Manager (Health, Safety & Environment), Hartalega Holdings Berhad
Hartalega build up HSE management systems to support business growth. The business has implemented multi-lingual weekly safety messages communicated daily during daily briefing, meetings and also daily announcement through the PA system Malay, English & Hindi languages. They believe these messages will create level of safety and environmental awareness on a daily basis on the shop floor and help staff recognize workplace hazards as well as practice key safety and environmental behaviors.

Vishal Londhe, Head of Business – India, Sedex
Vishal highlighted that with increased reliance on supply chains extending across the globe, the visibility and traction afforded by online communications and social media, and the growing need to improve and report on end-to-end sustainability performance are compelling businesses to account for EHS performance across their supply chain. Being a Sedex member helps companies understand more about EHS management and manage the gap between current company status and other suppliers on EHS management.

Thanks to everyone who attended the Sedex South East Asia Conference, and to the businesses and individuals who endeavor to create responsible supply chains. We continuously engage with as many of our members and stakeholders worldwide as we can, ensuring that we always listen to members’ needs and understand their expectations so that Sedex can evolve to adapt to sustainable supply chain sector trends.

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