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Preventing modern slavery in the event industry

How Olympia London is leading the way beyond legal compliance.

Welcoming over 220 events and 1.6 million visitors each year, Olympia London is the capital’s busiest venue and home to many of the UK’s most popular events. 
With a strong corporate responsibility ethos, the London landmark has applied a series of actions to prevent modern slavery in all its areas of influence, being it in-house, in the event industry or the community. 

What is modern slavery? 
Modern slavery and human trafficking are devastating global trends which affect an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children, according to the Global Slavery Index. Notoriously difficult situations to spot in daily life, businesses have a key role to play in eliminating this threat by raising awareness and reviewing policies. 

UK Modern Slavery Act
Setting guidelines to British businesses, the UK Modern Slavery Act (‘MSA’) requires that organisations with a turnover from £36 million and providing goods or services in the country, produce an annual statement setting out the steps taken to combat the risk of modern slavery. 

Running a sustainable and ethical business is at the core of Olympia London’s operations and, through its in-house sustainability programme “The Grand Plan”, the venue has taken action to, not only meet the requirements, but also lead the way among the UK’s venues: “Addressing potential ethical and human rights impact forms an important part of our objective to conduct business responsibly”, says Siân Richards, Business Services & Sustainability Manager at Olympia London.

Olympia London actions 
To advise and support its objectives, the venue partnered with Ardea International, a leading consultancy, specialist in sustainability, business and human rights with expertise in modern slavery.  
By working with Ardea, the in-house sustainability and legal teams implemented a series of measures designed to reach all operations, including:

•    Updated policies (such as procurement and supply chain) to block any modern slavery threat.

•    Developed a risk assessment tool and supplier questionnaire to identify potential risks in the supply chain.

•    Reviewed  Terms & Conditions and updated contract templates, making existing and new contracts modern slavery-proof

•    Provided training to all staff to raise awareness on the subject, equipping all the workforce to recognise any modern slavery risk across the business and in the community.  

These comprehensive measures ensure all areas of the business are compliant and serve as a benchmark for the event industry, as states Colleen Theron, CEO at Ardea:
“Working with Olympia London has been a pleasure. They have taken a leading approach to managing the risk of modern slavery and are keen to ensure that the business will be run in a fair and ethical manner as well as integrating the issue into their broader sustainability objectives. We believe that this approach to conducting business responsibly is what all organisations should be considering”.