26 April 2023
Hello, and thanks for joining us for this bonus episode, where I'm delighted to be joined by Anti-Slavery International, to discuss the link between ESG and modern slavery. I'm Anna-Marie Slot, Ashurst's global ESG and sustainability partner, and this is ESG Matters @ Ashurst.
In terms of some of the work that I've been doing whilst I've been here for the business and human rights team, I've been looking at the mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence law, and analyzing responses to the European commission's consultation on this to work out how businesses feel about this proposed new law. I've examined various factors, such as the inclusion of SMEs, liability, and supply chain coverage. And in terms of linking to ESG, it's not only moral reasons for businesses undertaking such due diligence, but there are also ESG risks if they are left unmanaged, and that could later lead to negative consequences for the company. For instance, damage to their reputation in public and investor pressure, and maybe even regulatory and legal consequences. Due diligence helps companies to thoroughly assess these ESG risks and impacts, to avoid these unwanted consequences, which makes it good for business.
Some have noted that there's also been a bigger focus on the E element, in terms of the environment, rather than the S element, in terms of social. So this law is hoped to increase the focus on that S element, so that it is at the same level as the E. There's also increasing recognition of the interlinkages between environmental and social impacts. There's increasing evidence suggesting links between climate change and modern slavery, which leads me to mention the other main project that I've been working on. So I supported Fran Witt, who's the climate change and modern slavery advisor at Anti-Slavery International, with organizing the report launch for the anti-slavery and IIED report on climate induced migration and modern slavery. This event amplified the voices of partners in the grassroots organizations in Ghana and Bangladesh, who outlined the challenges faced by their communities. I would like to now pass on to Fran to discuss the report in more detail. Thank you.
Thanks. Thank you, Adela. And just, can I just quickly say from our part, it's just so thrilling to have you, knowing that you're going to join the firm as an expert, and to come in as an ambassador for the fight against slavery is just fantastic. So we can learn from you, and we're just really thrilled that you'll be joining us next year. So now, yeah, to introduce Fran, we'd love you, Fran and Anna Marie. Well, and everybody really to join in. I mean, I was just going to throw out the first question, and just to say to everybody do type in questions and we can take them probably at the end. But if anything comes in and I think we can slip it in while they're having a conversation, I will do. But yeah, my first question really is to everyone. What is it? What is ESG to you and why is it important? Fran, I'm going to pick on you.
Yes, well, I think as Adela was talking, I think she summed it up really well. I think ESG is an absolutely fundamental part of responsible business practice in the sense that not only does it protect the social and environmental governance of an organization, but it also protects the workers and the environment in which those operations are taking place. And hopefully not only in the business itself, but throughout the supply chains. And so ultimately, from our perspective, it's about protecting people from extreme forms of exploitation, which can manifest in modern slavery, forced labor, or bonded labor, and also through other forms of exploitation. So I think the two things need to work together, as Adela alluded to. We need to be pulling the social and the environmental parts of this work together, because environmental impacts also have negative social impacts, and make people more vulnerable to exploitative practices as well. But I think it's got to be good for workers, and it's got to be good for business as well. I think that's what, for me, what ESG means.
Jasmine, what should ESG mean to people who are vulnerable to modern slavery? Maybe, how should corporate efforts impact them?
Right. I mean, I think it's, we want to prevent slavery, right? The global pandemic has meant that more and more people are in informal, insecure work and are vulnerable to slavery, but we want to prevent it. And I think when we're talking about a corporate, and I think what ESG means is that it means a corporate that is taking its responsibility to people and planet seriously. That is seeking to, right in the heart of its business model, and in its policies and PR practice, making sure that they aren't exploiting either people or planet.
So when we look, for example, at what that could look like when it goes wrong, it's the kind of business model that buys up huge amounts of... I mean, the classic examples, I guess, are from the textiles industry, that buy up huge amounts of textiles from one or two particular factories. Means that that textile factory is dependent upon one or two buyers of its products. Works to drive those prices down in a way that is unsustainable. Then the pandemic hits, and all of a sudden, some of those suppliers are saying, "Well, our business model doesn't work now because those factories are having to put their prices up, or they can't get the supplies in quickly enough."
So it pulls the order from that factory. And you're left with a factory, let's say in Bangladesh, and there are lots of examples of this happening. You're left with a factory in Bangladesh where all of the workers have to all be laid off. They then happen to be migrant workers. And because they're migrant workers, they're thrown out of the country, because they don't have papers to stay if they don't have a job, for example. And so then they're having to trek across land to get home, and lo and behold, the borders are shut, because you're in the middle of a global pandemic.
And so I think when we're talking about ESG, we're talking about, yes, laws in place and yes, making sure that all of that happens. But the laws have to be consistent and challenging enough to get to the root of some of these kind of practices that effectively create insecurity, so we're looking at a world really where business is done in a way that is good for people and for planet. And I'll let Fran talk a little bit about that nexus between slavery and climate change, and what we're learning about that. But in short, it's business being done in a way that is sustainable, full stop, so that when a pandemic hits, it's not the most marginalized that are devastated. But actually the systems work in a way that's sustainable.
Thanks. Fran actually you could just follow on from that, and then we could ask Anna-Marie to follow on from a business perspective.
Yes. Thank you. So Anti-Slavery has been working on the nexus between climate change and modern slavery just since the beginning of this year. So it's still a relatively new area for us, but we were lucky enough to have a fellow from Dublin City University who did some research for us at the very outset. And he came up with this model, which basically explains the vicious circle which climate change contributes to, which is creating vulnerability. So essentially, he took it from the standpoint of climate change, which is creating economic and environmental vulnerabilities. Because things like desertification, or sea level rise, or extreme weather events make it impossible for normal business or normal life to continue to carry on. And so that's driving people into deeper poverty, and exclusion, and marginalization, and that's increasingly, millions of people falling into that situation. And when people are vulnerable or more marginalized than they already were, they can then be prey to things like debt bondage, and sexual exploitation, and slavery.
And then the final component of this is that these people who are put in extreme forms of exploitation also get employed in businesses that are environmentally degrading, like deforestation, for example, or intensive fishing, or the brick kiln industry. So deforestation obviously speaks for itself, but it's the decimation of forests, which are important carbon sinks in relation to the environment. Intensive fishing is reducing fish stocks. And there's a lot of people in slave labor in fishing industry. In the brick kilns, which is an industry which is across India, Bangladesh, and Asia in particular, they use extremely environmentally polluting mechanisms to burn their fires to create bricks, which causes a great deal of pollution as well as CO2 emissions. So it has a really extremely negative environmental consequence, whilst also using forced labor. So that's the vicious circle that Chris developed. And then he has also a way that that might be redressed by addressing climate change, supporting people's social safety nets, making sure that they have decent employment, and removing people from slavery.
Fran, thank you. I just wondered actually, just for our audience, I mean, I've read the IIED report. And in fact, I think I jumped into your webinar when it was launched, so I heard those case studies. So could you perhaps share, there was a case study of somebody in India, it was about how the farmers have been migrated due to climate change, and ended up going to work in the brick kilns, and maybe explain what that involves, and why that's slavery, and what is bonded slavery?
Yeah, yeah sure. So in our recent report that we've done with IIED, we did some work with partners, particularly in Bangladesh and Ghana. And in both of those two countries, we found that there was quite a significant correlation between climate change and vulnerability to modern slavery. So if you take the case of Bangladesh, most of you will be aware that it's a country that's built on a delta, so it's very vulnerable to flooding. And in recent times, sea level rise has caused the salination of land, which was used to be paddy fields for growing rice, as well as other farming methods. And so this kind of salination of a lot of land coupled with other environmental problems that Bangladesh suffers... so also there's existence of drought, as well as heavy flooding in some parts of the country, landslides and things... it means people's livelihoods are no longer viable where they originally lived. So they might have been rice farmers or fisher folk, but that's no longer possible because their lands have been destroyed by the impacts of climate change.
So it means that a lot of people migrate, and quite often it's principally the men who will migrate first, looking for work, maybe across the border in India, but then they leave their families vulnerable. So the women and children are then in an extremely vulnerable position with very little income, and they become quite vulnerable to exploitation. So it's quite... In Bangladesh, there are some studies of where women in particular have ended up vulnerable to being trafficked into domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, and also young children as well. And that will be cross border, so into... They go to work in places like the United Arab Emirates, for example, and it can be very difficult for them to find their way back again. And sometimes this kind of migration ends up being really quite vulnerable, is seasonal as well. So sometimes they will be at home while they can make a living in their normal place of origin, but then they might have to migrate, and then they become vulnerable.
And similarly in Ghana, the impact of desertification in Ghana has been quite significant. And again, it's driven people to seek work in the cities. So massive migration from original agricultural lands to cities. And there were some cases, particularly of women who moved to the cities, and they fell into this type of modern slavery called debt bondage, which I referred to before. And debt bondage is where a person becomes... So they're basically looked after by an individual who they then become indebted to. So in this particular case, many women migrate to the city and they become head porters, the people who carry goods on their heads. And the person who looks after them when they first arrive will provide them with the pan that they carry on their heads to carry the goods around for people, and they can never afford to pay back the cost of that pan.
So no matter... So from the very outset, the moment they receive that pan, they're in a situation of debt bondage, because they never get paid enough to pay that person back. And that person effectively becomes a slave owner. And so in Ghana, we're working with some partners who specifically are supporting women who've ended up in this situation, and they'd speak specifically about how it was climate change that was the tipping point that made them vulnerable. Before, they were probably relatively vulnerable anyway, but climate change was the tipping point.
Yeah. Thank you. That's really helpful context. So Anna-Marie, sorry, going from very granular level to what you talk about with your clients, and how they respond, and what the issues that they're thinking about are, and how that relates to what we're talking about today, and with modern slavery.
Yeah. No, thanks. So, yeah, I mean, look, we... Obviously there are laws around modern slavery, and so there lots of work that we do as a firm with clients on the business side around that. And Ruby Hamid and that team does a really great job around helping companies figuring out their supply chain, setting up the kind of diligence that was talked about earlier, figuring out exactly who's doing what. Because it's not as easy as it might seem. And it's not just the person you've contracted with, it's the person that they've contracted with, and the person who's subcontracted to that. And then as you get further and further down, that chain is where you start to see, I would imagine, more of the exploitation rather than at the front of that chain.
And so having a law in place that now gets people thinking about that whole chain has been a huge shift, I think, in the mindset of businesses as they thought about it. Because frequently, the business is like, "Well, I can't control my supplier down that chain, and I don't necessarily know what they're doing." And it's kind of shifted that. And ESG is an interesting intersection with that, because it builds in some ways on that mindset, that mindset shift, where people, instead of saying in the past, "Oh, well, I kind of didn't know what was happening down the end," people are being told from an anti-modern slavery, you need to know what's happening down the end. And now companies, interestingly, when you talk about a company looking at their... kind of from an ESG perspective as themselves, they look at what's called scope one, scope two, and scope three emissions.
So when people are making these net zero claims and commitments, they are committing to emissions for themselves, and for how they operate their companies, that's one and two, but scope three is actually supply chain. And so that supply chain commitment, I think, goes hand in hand with what's already there for the anti-modern slavery, and is, in some ways, they benefit each other, right? To have both of those analysis. Because the more questions you're asking and the more information you're getting, the more you know about what's happening down that chain. And we see that from the clients' and companies' perspectives.
A lot of the fund managers, a lot of the money investors around the systems are starting to get very, very focused on what their portfolio companies are doing. The portfolio companies and general companies that are very heavily involved in supply chain are also super focused now, for reputational reasons, for fines. And just also as a general topic inside of their own company from a stakeholder perspective. I mean, all of their employees are asking for greater transparency on this, they're asking for greater commitment around what the company is doing. And I think people are more aware of what does that look like outside of my own office? How did that piece of what I've manufactured get here, and where did it come from, and who was on the other end of that?
And I think the really interesting bit that people... So that's how the chains are working from a business perspective, but what people haven't really spent a long time thinking about and why I think this report is really interesting is it also adds the second consideration, which is climate change is actually causing some of these problems, right? It's creating environments where people are migrating, not because they want to, but because they can't survive in where they are at present, right? And it's that second, sort of that causality, which hasn't really come to the fore yet, I think, for a lot of businesses, but has a huge impact as they commit along these net zero commitments that they're doing.
And in fact, companies are also committing to a circular economy. So you see that companies, particularly in the fashion industry, are starting to recognize, "I create a lot of waste," in particular, "I have an extensive supply chain. How am I dealing with that?" Because stakeholders are now saying, "I'm actually going to hold you responsible for where all of your stuff ends up." And so clients are looking at it from that perspective as well.
That's really helpful. Jasmine and Fran, have you anything to add? Maybe particularly around how social responsibility from our ops and our clients can help, or how it relates. And have you seen things shifting recently, or we still got a long way to go?
Well, I think we've seen things shifting and we've still got a long way to go. I mean, let's put it like that. And I think from our perspective, the conversations that you have with your clients that actually creates the awareness that these two issues in particular are interconnected. And that actually, you can have a double positive impact if you do the right thing. I think what I would also say is, and I think climate change really brings this home, but these problems aren't all over there. The truth of the matter is that here in this country, the unofficial estimate is that there's around about a 100,000 people living in slavery. So slavery is right here, right at home.
And actually climate change is here in different ways, but it's also coming here. And I think it's worth just making sure that we make that shift, that this ESG thing isn't some charity that we're doing because we're sympathetic to people who happen to be being caught up in the climate crisis, and having these vulnerabilities increased, and are ending up in slavery. This ESG thing is actually critical to everyone's future planetary survival. And I think, I basically said, we do need to shift away from doing this because we feel bad for somebody in a country, say in Bangladesh, for example, and shift to actually recognizing that, well, no actually, that's not charity. They're just on the front line. They're on the front line of this planetary and people collapse. And so actually behind the scenes, in boardrooms, we've got to recognize that this isn't about charity. It's about doing business differently. Otherwise, we're all in trouble, right?
And I think that probably segues to some of our asks around the climate conference that's coming up in a few weeks, because we certainly are raising those issues and those concerns, in the context of that political debate. But I think from our perspective, we would love to see Ashurst continue those conversations, and it's small conversations that shift the needle, often. And conversations that say, "Actually, you can do things differently, and here's how." So that it's not just an overwhelming prospect for people. But business is moving in the right direction, but not fast enough. And I think that's the big thing to sell and to say. And any business that wants to be here in 10, 20 years time does need to get ahead of the curve, not be caught behind it.
Brilliant. Thank you. We're getting some questions. Guys, please do keep asking questions. We'll come to those in a minute. I was just going to ask Anna-Marie, so as Jasmine referred to COP in Glasgow, I know that Anna-Marie's got a presence there as well, or going to have a presence there. What are your hopes, Anna-Marie, for Ashurst and with COP, and for beyond?
Wow, good question. No, look, I think this COP will be very, very important. COP, of course, is the coming together of the countries up in Glasgow next month, to commit or recommit or refine their commitments around climate change in particular. And I think that for this COP, it really is about action. And you've already started to see that. You've seen companies starting to move on that even without governments moving on it, and governments have moved. About 60% of the world's governments have committed to some kind of net zero. The real question comes in, how did you commit and to what did you commit, and over what timeline did you commit? Questions that we, as lawyers, love to ask. And so, but I think it's really, in some ways, business has really grabbed this and is running with it at pace, and not really waiting for governments to take a lot of the actions.
And so, and you look at huge companies like Unilever, right? Unilever's got presence everywhere, right? And their supply chains go into everything. You look at Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola, I've been in the middle of absolutely hours from anywhere that would appear on a map, and people know Coca-Cola, right? And so the supply chains of Coca-Cola are unbelievable. When companies like that decide to take a position, and get pressure from stakeholders to continue to take that position, is where I think you're going to see a lot of this coming out of COP. And I think ideally, if there is action combined with, as Jasmine was saying, recognition of what's called climate justice.
This concept that the GDP growth of industrialized world has grown on the back of quite a lot of coal consumption, and therefore the GDP growth of countries that are not yet industrialized see that status... What does that grow off the back of, in a way that we can all continue to live on the planet? That's going to be a big question coming out of COP. And I think there's going to be a lot of focus on that just transition aspect, of what people are committing to, and how they get there.
Yeah. Fran, have you go anything to add in terms of COP and what you'd like to see coming out of that?
Yeah, just... I do, a few things. I'm also going to be at COP for a few days, and so maybe we can hook up there. It would be great to have a conversation. So, I mean, Anna-Marie, you mentioned the concept of the just transition. And I think that that's probably the most vital part of the picture from our point of view. So as you said, the idea of the just transition is making a fair and equitable transition from a carbon intensive future to a renewable, a sustainable, renewable future. But not leaving the people in those industries and those workers behind, and making sure that there's sufficient alternative employment, for example, for all of the people who are currently in the mining industries, or particularly coal mining. What are governments going to do in order to offer alternative types of employment for those people?
And indeed, moving into the renewable energy industry, how are we going to ensure that the renewable energy industry continues to be progressive, and provides decent work for its workers as well? And there've been some recent evidence of, particularly in lithium mining, of forced labor being used in those industries that are supporting the renewable energy industry. And so for us, I think it's really important that the renewable energy industry gets it right now, from the very beginning, and doesn't fall into this trap of using exploitative labor practices. Because we are depending on the renewable energy industry for the future of our planet, and it can't be dealing in that way. So that's something that we want to pick up and run with, and make sure that that's responded to, in terms of legislation, and corporate social responsibility going forwards.
So that's going to probably our main ask around COP. There are a couple of other things as well that we are quite keen to get some recognition for. So I think firstly, it's around this issue of climate induced migration. So we're supporting and trying to promote the fact that there is a significant issue here, where hundreds of millions of people are vulnerable to being forcibly displaced by climate change. And amongst those are a significant number of people who may fall vulnerable to modern slavery because of it. And so we're trying to elevate that position, and we want governments to respond by putting in social safety nets for people, and to do some pre-planning for migration.
Because a lot of the climate impacts that we foresee. I mean, a lot of them are pretty obvious, or they might be slow onset, like desertification, or they might be in countries where there's significant extreme weather events like cyclones. But we know that now, and we know it's going to impact on people. So we need national planning that responds to the needs of people who are going to be forced to migrate, and who might fall into modern slavery as well. And that includes things like providing decent work, but also education, healthcare, and other services that people need to survive. So I guess those are probably the two main things, and we're pitching for climate finance to respond to the specific challenges of climate induced migration.
That's great. Thanks Fran. And actually, I've just, one of the questions that have come in is really relevant to what you've just said. It's a question for ASI, "Have you seen any positive examples of reactions by policy makers, or otherwise, toward putting safety nets in place to protect vulnerable communities in climate change?" Because we hear all the negatives, so have you got, yeah. Have you come across some good policy makers, or good governments, people who are trying to put in a safety net?
Yeah. I mean, there are. I mean, so all governments have to... they have to create what are called nationally determined contributions. So that's their plan that will help them respond to the climate crisis, and also help them cut their carbon emissions. But obviously, if you're Bangladesh, your carbon emissions are not going to be as great as you would be if you're in the UK. So the emphasis on most countries, or in the developing world in particular, is on adaptation, which is about helping communities to respond to the impact of climate change. So a huge amount of it is being done in countries to help people find alternative livelihoods. Use what they've got, but use it differently. And also providing those social safety nets that I talked about, in terms of things like education, and housing and things like that.
And in one particular case that always strikes me as so incredible is that Vanuatu is a atoll, and the sea level is just... Basically the atoll is going under the water because of sea level rise. It isn't going to exist at some point fairly soon. And the government of Vanuatu has actually bought land in New Zealand to relocate its population when the time comes. So there's those types of forward thinking. It's pretty extreme. You wouldn't want that to have to happen, but there is a lot of preparation and thinking that governments and the international community is doing.
That's really encouraging to hear. Wow, I had no idea. I'm so cynical, that's great. Anyone else? Anna-Marie, anything to add, or Adela, or Jasmine?
No, I think the adaptation question is going to become more and more important, and people are going to look at it more and more. I mean, earlier in the conversation I was mentioning the fact that Bangladesh is flooding, and the rice fields are actually being flooded by seawater. I mean, that's a massive thing that the Mekong Delta has the same problem. And the projections of what that would look like 15 years ago on the base case are radically changed to those projections now, because of the speed at which everything continues to be building up. And so, in terms of adaptation, there are various universities out trying to figure out how do you grow rice in saltwater?
Because it's such a massive staple grain for people, particularly across Asia. And Asia's at the front line of feeling the impacts of seawater rises, and people haven't really put those things all together in their mind yet in a way that says, "Oh, this is really coming down the pike, and we've got to start taking actions now." Because it's not like you wake up one day and decide to re-engineer rice kernels so that they'll grow in seawater. It takes a little time to figure that one out. But people have started working on things like that in an adaptation perspective, which I think they weren't doing before. And that of course enables people to stay living where they are, and not have to migrate, which then is a solution to part of the problem of me leaving wherever I live now, because I have to, because I can't stay where I am.
Has anyone got any other questions? So we're coming to the end of our webinar. So we've got a little swap for questions now. Otherwise, I'll just keep asking questions, and that's terrible for the panel. Somebody's coming into the chat.
Looks like a long question.
Oh, crikey. All right, who wants to take this? Oh my goodness. Thank you for this fantastic discussion. Climate change is quite overwhelming. How long do you think it will take business across different sectors to actually take on an active role to promote good ESG practices, rather than it being a tick box exercise. There's software, frameworks, and finance with the equator principles, with the extent the business is actually following the core of their business structure is questionable. Then you can also have fast fashion, in which major impact of climate change and also exploiting women and young children are at the heart of this globally. So how do we also hold these businesses accountable? Whoa. Who wants to go for that? Why don't we go Anna-Marie first, Jasmine second to answer that same question.
Sure. Look, I think businesses are already starting to be held to account. I think if you had had this conversation five years ago, you were in a different place than having that conversation now. And I think you really have seen a number of movements, things like the senior manager regime in the UK where there's now in all the banks, it's required by law that there be a senior manager who puts their name down and says that they're responsible for addressing the risks that the bank has faced. And when you start to get personal accountability like that into organizations, you do shift the dial. And I think you have seen this conversation move from, oh, let's all put on a green T-shirt and hug a tree, and put that picture on our annual report, to actually, this is a massive business risk that I need to address. Because my plans in a three, five, and 10 year structure look different. And you see the money moving.
I'm a little bit biased because I do finance, but when the money moves, you see businesses react. And so when the money stops flowing to different areas and you cannot refinance projects, those projects stop, because they can't get refinanced, and therefore no one will buy them because they won't operate on unfinanced basis. There are very few companies in the world that operate without any kind of credit facilities, right? And so when you see investors saying, "I have the following request for you. I want to know the answers on these questions." I think you do start to see shifts. I'm not saying that everything is being done for all the right reasons, believe me. And there's plenty of stuff going on, but I do think that that movement of where the cash gets invested will be equally important to regulation, because it will move faster and react to markets faster than the regulation will be able to be put in place.
I'd agree with that. I think it's a combination of many things, but I do think where the finance goes and how that flows is of critical importance. One of the initiatives that we are working on with a partner in insurance with, Fidelis Insurance, is on a marine cargo clause that prohibits modern slavery. So you can't really get your goods insured if you haven't done the right due diligence. And beginning to move those initiatives, so that if you are shipping goods and you can't prove that you've done your due diligence, you end up not getting a payout if something goes wrong with the cargo at sea, and it sinks or whatever. Those kind of cross sector levers need to be pulled alongside the legislation.
And I think from my perspective, we work with phenomenal businesses that do want to do good and do right. And we see it partly as our job to not leave them at a competitive disadvantage, but to get the right legislation in place that not only holds them to account, but holds others to account. But I think there's also a kind of public awareness piece around modern slavery that is not obviously as advanced as the climate change risks. And so I think there is a reputational understanding, when it comes to climate change, that everybody's going to come down on businesses that are not doing right when it comes to climate change. But I think when it comes to modern slavery, there's still an ability of the public to put it in a box over there, overseas.
And so the reputational risk of having products tainted by slavery isn't as great as yet, I think, and that's certainly something that we need everybody in Ashurst to start talking about. And to have those conversations with your colleagues, have those conversations with your families, so that people start to make those connections. Because in a sense, at the moment, there's an ability of business that is flawed in its model, and is tainted by slavery, to brush it under the carpet when a lawsuit comes, and to spend money on keeping it in the closet, as it were. So actually putting these two together, and understanding how climate change and modern slavery both need that drive from the general public to be making business do what is right, I think is also really critically important.
I think that's probably one of the... It's partly an answer to the second question here, around the thoughts on the rising climate change anxiety, and its impact on younger generations. I mean, from Anti-Slavery's perspective, we want every young person to feel empowered, to feel a part of the change. We know that obviously the huge impact that will happen if we don't keep to 1.5, and then that grows and grows and grows, the higher warming goes. We know that that's causing a trauma with young people. And I think that is really, really understandable.
But I think what we would seek to do is keeping people engaged, get the kind of... Listen to young people, understand young people, give platform for young people to be a part of helping to drive the solutions. And recognizing where young people are leading, because at the end of the day, I think young people are leading this debate in many, many ways. And our role at Slavery is just to make sure those voices are heard. I wonder, I don't want to put Adela on the spot on this one, but I don't know whether Adela has been doing any thinking about it, as probably the youngest person on the panel. But yeah.
No, I think, yeah, definitely people that I went to university with and things like that, they are definitely thinking about the environment more, and a lot more about climate. I know when I was at university, there was a new society set up, all about climate change and environmental law and things like that. So there are definitely people getting behind that movement, thinking about ways to be more sustainable in their own lives, and also outside of that too.
Well, thank you so much. I'm sorry. I'm really going to have to draw this, we're two minutes past. I can't believe we've run out of time so quickly, but I just want to say thank you so much to everybody for joining. First of all, of course our panel, but also for all of the participants, and for your fantastic questions. Sorry, we can't go on for more, but you can always email me if you've got any questions, and I'll obviously send them to the experts and email you back with the answer. But yeah, visit the link on the internet page to read more about what we've been doing, and to find our modern slavery action plan. And please do come to me if you've got any questions. I'm always happy to talk about this. But thank you so, so much panel. I know how busy you are, especially the day after Modern Slavery Day, Anti-Slavery Day, sorry. And yeah, hopefully we'll see each other again before long, but certainly at COP. And certainly this time next year, we can have another discussion, hopefully, and see where we've got to since today.
And I should say, one of the other things that Ashurst has done for us is pro bono support. We didn't talk about that at all, but if anybody wants to look at their billable hours and pro bono support, we do put calls to get engaged in that way as well. So do feel free to pick up on that and followup. So thank you.
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