Stock Exchange of Thailand, Walk Free and FAST Provide Thai Businesses With Tools To Manage Modern Slavery Risks

The toolkit will help Thai listed companies and businesses manage human rights risks across a range of sectors.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) partnered with Walk Free and Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) at UNU-CPR to produce a set of tools to manage human rights risks, specifically modern slavery and labor exploitation. The toolkit, which consists of the Guidance on Modern Slavery Risks for Thai Businesses and the online Modern Slavery Benchmarking Tool, will help Thai listed companies, business operators and interested members of the public to manage human rights risks across a range of business and industry sectors. Detecting, preventing and remediating human rights abuses in value chains is essential for modern businesses to win the trust of all stakeholders and build further confidence in the Thai business sector globally.

SET President Pakorn Peetathawatchai said SET is committed to sustainable development and ensuring Thai listed companies had proper mechanisms in place to effectively manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks. This would enable business capabilities to adapt, compete and grow internationally.

Human rights issues are generating attention globally. The business sector must therefore prioritize human rights and proactively collaborate with all relevant parties to address and solve related problems to enhance competitiveness and build confidence in Thai businesses in the global arena.

To support Thai businesses, SET, Walk Free and FAST have published the 'Guidance on Modern Slavery Risks for Thai Businesses' to create awareness and understanding of modern slavery. The Guidance highlights key risks to Thai businesses across eight industry sectors to promote enterprise risk management. It also promotes transparency by guiding companies on what they should be disclosing to the market.

In addition, the online "Modern Slavery Benchmarking Tool" allows businesses to assess and benchmark how they are managing modern slavery risks in their value chains. Listed companies should disclose their corporate performance information on ESG and relevant risk management, so that shareholders and other stakeholders can monitor them. This transparency will ultimately gain stakeholder confidence and widen business opportunities for their long-term growth, stated Pakorn.

"SET's role and leadership in promoting sustainable business is in accordance with our plan to develop the Thai capital market for the benefits of all sectors, in line with our vision 'To Make the Capital Market Work for Everyone'. Moreover, this corresponds with SET's role as a partner exchange in the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative to focus on developing the capital market toward sustainable growth for the benefits of the society and economy as a whole," added Pakorn.

Grace Forrest, Founding Director of Walk Free, an international human rights group working to accelerate the end of all forms of modern slavery, said businesses could lead the way in identifying, eradicating and remediating modern slavery and labor abuses in value chains. "We applaud The Stock Exchange of Thailand for its leadership in guiding Thai companies to identify, address and report on modern slavery risks, as part of their mandatory ESG reporting," Forrest said "Business leaders have an opportunity to set and hold themselves to a new standard. The new KPI must be: is my value chain free of modern slavery? This innovative guidance created by SET, Walk Free and FAST puts the tools to make real change in the hands of business leaders. Business leaders have the power to make a difference to the lives of thousands of workers, to the reputation of their businesses among shareholders, and to create an ethical standard that they can be proud of."

Daniel Thelesklaf, Project Director of Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST), said: "The finance sector has a crucial role to play in combating modern slavery and human trafficking. Although its prohibition is one of the strongest norms in international law, more than 40 million people continue to be deprived of their freedom and annual profits from modern slavery and human trafficking are estimated at USD 150 billion. FAST welcomes this Guidance and online Modern Slavery Benchmarking Tool, which will make an important contribution to global efforts to end modern slavery and trafficking. As noted in FAST's Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking, stock exchanges have a crucial role to play in incentivizing their listed companies in this respect and we are pleased that SET has responded to this call."

Both the Guidance on Modern Slavery Risks for Thai Businesses and the online Modern Slavery Benchmarking Tool will be available in both Thai and English. The toolkit will be useful for the evaluation of business administration throughout the value chains, starting from governance and policy, risk assessment and due diligence, to grievance mechanisms, response and remediation.