Ausbil investment manager recognised for action on modern slavery

Ausbil Investment Management’s head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research, Mans Carlsson-Sweeny, has been recognised with an Anti-Slavery Australia Freedom Award Certificate of High Commendation, for his work combatting slavery in investment supply chains.

He was recognised due to his contribution identifying the risk of modern slavery in investment and promoting better awareness around slavery in the investor community.

Carlsson-Sweeny had travelled to countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and Thailand to research working conditions and gather information.

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Since 2016, Ausbil had worked on highlighting modern slavery as an investment risk and how companies can mitigate it in global supply chains and operations.

Ausbil engaged with the government about the Modern Slavery Act 2018, which came into effect earlier this year, and were appointed to a panel of experts helping the Federal Government to provide guidance on the issue.

Last year, they had chaired a sub-committee of Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) human rights working group, which produced an investor toolkit on human rights to help engage companies constructively on how to mitigate human rights issues.

Carlsson-Sweeny said the introduction of Australia’s anti-slavery legislation was one that was stronger than those enacted by other nations, including the UK.

“Investors can play a big role through leverage with the companies in which we invest, and institutional investors have high expectations about how corporate Australia should behave in helping reduce the incidence of modern slavery,” Carlsson-Sweeny said.

“Ultimately, it comes down to earnings sustainability. A business model that relies on underpaid workers, weak regulation, weak enforcement of laws or even illegal activities like slavery is not sustainable.”

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