11 APRIL 2016

“Abolitionist”. It’s a word that has lost its currency since the mid-nineteenth century, when the world witnessed a titanic struggle to end slavery driven by towering figures such as William Wilberforce in Britain, and of course Abraham Lincoln in the United States. Here and now in 2016, however, there’s a modern-day abolitionist and anti-slavery campaigner making her way to Melbourne – Dr Jean Baderschneider.

Wilberforce and Lincoln’s efforts culminated in world-changing legislation including the UK Slavery Abolition Act 1833, and of course the USA’s Thirteenth Amendment. At the time, people declared slavery to be abolished, confident that the institution was finished once and for all. Tragically, they were wrong – the United Nations estimates that 27–30 million individuals worldwide are currently working as slaves, despite slavery being illegal in every nation. Contemporary slavery can take many forms, including bonded labour, forced migrant labour, sex slavery, forced marriage, child labour, and of course human trafficking.

Baderschneider will appear at the 9th Asia-Pacific CPO Forum on Thursday 19th May 2016 to talk to the assembled Chief Procurement Officers about slavery in their supply chains and what they can do to stamp it out. As CEO of the Global Fund to End Slavery and former Vice President of Global Procurement at ExxonMobil, Baderschneider knows procurement and understands the intricacies of supply chains. Crucially, she recognises the impact that CPOs can have, both in creating an environment that allows slavery to flourish, and proactively weeding it out of supply chains. 

The Global Fund to End Slavery has a clear pathway to achieving its goal, through:

  1. - Defining the scope of modern slavery
  2. - Agreeing on costed national plans with Country stakeholders
  3. - Programming for sustainability
  4. - Assessing outcomes and impact
  5. - Motivating business transformation
  6. - Formulating exit strategy (replacement economy).

Point five, “Motivating business transformation”, is the purpose of Baderschneider’s speech at the CPO Forum. She will turn the floodlights onto this shameful practice and drive real change amongst some of the largest organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. The potential to drive social change is enormous – the assembled CPOs in the room are expected to have a combined spend of over $180 billion, and a collective decision to investigate their global supply chains and permanently dismantle slavery systems will have a real and lasting impact.

The Asia-Pacific CPO Forum is the region’s premier procurement event dedicated to accelerating commercial leadership at the highest level. It is a once-a-year opportunity for leading Chief Procurement Officers to engage with peers and like-minded business leaders in an intimate and interactive setting. The Forum is designed for delegates to facilitate the sharing of best practice strategies, develop innovative and responsive procurement approaches, and hear from a compelling speaker line-up of influential thinkers, eminent business leaders and commercially creative minds.

In 2016, The 9th Annual Asia-Pacific CPO Forum will held on 18th and 19th May in Melbourne, Australia. For more information contact Program Manager, Belinda Toohey, on +61 3 9654 4900 or via email.​ 

[Image credit: Ira Gelb, Flickr]

Ira Gelb, Flickr