Supporting the human rights and anti-modern slavery agenda
Our human rights policy identifies our main stakeholders and the most salient human rights issues for our business. The scope of this policy is group-wide and sets out the Group’s commitment to respect human rights.
Within our own operations, in 2020 we:
- Continued work on the country-wide human rights impact assessments conducted in 2019, which looked at assessing our markets’ risk approach in areas including governance, employees, customers and investments.
- Analysed the results of these assessments and created action plans and feedback sessions with all markets. To date, all markets in which Aviva operates have been involved in this work. The assessments showed key areas to focus on to enhance Aviva’s work on human rights which included the need to create further group-wide training on Business and Human Rights and Modern Slavery, to be delivered up to executive level. This training was subsequently developed with our partner the Slave Free Alliance to educate our staff about our commitment to human rights as well as understand the part we all play to tackle modern slavery.
- Continued to engage key suppliers on the topic of human rights and conducted modern slavery threat assessments on a range of key suppliers which were selected based on their potential modern slavery risks. In 2020 we completed 17 assessments, including checks conducted remotely or via self-administered questionnaires due to the travel limitations imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic. No cases of modern slavery were discovered at Aviva both in our operations and supply chain, however corrective action plans were issued to all the suppliers to support and improve their capability.
We also continue to work with trusted partners to enhance our approach. To mark United Nations Human Rights day on the 10th of December, we organised a Human rights and Modern Slavery workshop with the Slave Free Alliance, where through role play and solving business dilemmas, we worked with our people, including key people leaders, executives, CR practitioners, risk business partners, procurement and supply chain colleagues, to understand the complexities of modern slavery and human trafficking, be able to spot the signs of it and know how to respond in the event that a case is identified. We remain committed to work with the UN Global Compact and key like-minded organisations as part of the UK Working Group on modern slavery.
Finally, we use our influence and connections to bring others together and enhance the industry’s wider understanding of, and impact on human rights. Moreover, we continue to work with the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) on the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB).
Reflecting on our history
We can trace Aviva’s history back over 300 years to 1696. Given our long heritage, it is likely that Aviva’s ancestor companies insured people or property involved in or enabling the slave trade. This is unacceptable now and should have been unacceptable then.
We should not deny or erase what happened in the past but we can and should apologise. We deplore any such connection, regret any association with an evil trade and are sorry for any involvement in the pain and suffering. We also can and must ensure it does not happen in the future.
Today, we have a commitment to ensure there is no modern slavery in our business or supply chain and Aviva stands alongside those battling injustice and hate. Our ambition is to have a truly diverse and inclusive culture that enables everyone to be themselves and to thrive, no matter their background. As part of this, Aviva is supporting charities that support racial equality and diversity.