Modern Slavery Statement 2019
Statement pursuant to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
This statement is published on behalf of Ashurst LLP and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ashurst Business Services Limited, each having a turnover in excess of £36 million and references to "Ashurst", "we", "us", "our" or the "firm" are to both and to the related entities that carry on the Ashurst business across the world.
Ashurst is a leading global law firm advising the world’s largest companies, financial institutions and governments. We operate from 27 offices across 16 countries advising across a broad range of industry sectors, including Digital Economy, Energy & Resources, Funds & Banks, Infrastructure and Real Estate. With a focus on quality, collaboration and a progressive culture we deliver a distinctive service to our clients that sets us apart from other law firms.
We are committed to achieving the highest standards of ethical behaviour in the conduct of our business and activities worldwide. We support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and endeavour to make sure that Ashurst is not complicit in human rights abuses. To this end, we will not tolerate slavery or human trafficking or abusive or unfair treatment in any part of our own business or in any of our supply chains. We are generally, and in particular through our policies and practices in relation to procurement, human resources and corporate responsibility, committed to taking steps to ensure that slavery and human trafficking play no part in our own business or in our supply chains.
Our supply chain
Our supply chain supports our partners, lawyers and staff to do their work. Its key components supply us with:
- Real estate: the offices we work from.
- Technology: such as IT hardware and software and print services that support our business.
- Business services: the products that we buy into in our offices, for example furniture, stationery and marketing items as well as the services that we use in our offices such as catering, security and cleaning.
- Travel services: organising and booking our travel and accommodation requirements.
- Professional services: such as external training services, external consultants and contractors and legal support services.
Policies and procedures
Policies and procedures that are in place and steps that we have taken are set out below.
We have a Code of Conduct which sets out the conduct that we expect of our firm, its employees, contractors and suppliers, and explicitly states that we will not tolerate slavery or human trafficking.
We have a Global Corporate Responsibility Policy which, among other things, sets out our policy and approach on anti-slavery and human trafficking.
We have a Global Procurement Policy and Guidelines and a formal Global Contracts Protocol. The Global Procurement Policy and Guidelines aim to ensure that all goods and services acquired on behalf of the firm are acquired in line with procurement best practice, on the most advantageous commercial terms, at the lowest risk profile and with proper consideration of the social, environmental and ethical impacts of such activity.
The Global Contracts Protocol aims to manage the firm's contractual risks by ensuring that appropriate due diligence is undertaken before entering into contracts. Due diligence requirements include a specific requirement to carry out due diligence in relation to slavery and enforced labour with all potential new vendors to Ashurst.
We have a Global Whistleblowing Protection Policy that allows staff to raise any concerns that they may have about any individuals or organisations that Ashurst interacts with, whether they be clients, suppliers, or others.
- Procurement and supplier due diligence
Existing suppliers. Ashurst participates in a supplier information portal, which facilitates timely exchange of up-to-date information on aspects of certain supplier's operations, including modern slavery and corporate responsibility practices and procedures. This enables us to target key suppliers and review their information to ensure it aligns with Ashurst's approach to mitigating modern slavery risks.
New suppliers. Ashurst's Global Procurement Policy mandates that a thorough due diligence process is carried out on key new suppliers. Accordingly, our standard bid invitation documentation asks key suppliers to demonstrate the steps they take to avoid or eliminate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chain. The disclosure of any slavery or human trafficking issue would mean a prospective supplier would be immediately disqualified from the procurement process. This has not happened as yet.
Our supplier contract terms include undertakings that suppliers comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and codes of conduct and in an ethically compliant manner including with our standard business practices terms. These terms cover, amongst other things, labour and workplace management and touch on matters such as child, forced and involuntary labour; fair pay and working conditions; and training, learning and development opportunities.
- Training of staff involved in procurement
Having initially trained staff involved in procurement in 2017, we have recently re-launched our modern slavery and due diligence training with a view to: refreshing awareness in this area and stressing, amongst other things, Ashurst's zero tolerance stance on slavery and human trafficking; and reinforcing the policies and procedures that we have in place.
- Recruitment and welfare of our people
We are a leading law firm with more than 3,000 employees, partners and contractors working across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. As a professional services firm, people are our most valuable asset at all levels of the business.
As part of our HR policies and procedures, we only use reputable recruitment firms and comply with all relevant local laws and regulations. We regularly review our global recruitment procedures and providers, as well as our arrangements for employee welfare by promoting mental and physical wellbeing. All employees are paid at least the minimum wage in the local jurisdiction and in London employees and contractors are paid the London Living Wage or above.
Approved by the board of Ashurst LLP on 28 August 2019 and the board of Ashurst Business Services on 28 August 2019 and by members of Ashurst LLP on 4 October 2019 and signed by Ben Tidswell, Designated Member on behalf of Ashurst LLP and Director on behalf of Ashurst Business Services Limited on 8 October 2019.