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Home / case studies / Case study: How Air Canada combats human trafficking

Case study: How Air Canada combats human trafficking

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, serving more than 50 million customers every year, on six continents. As an increasingly growing global airline, Air Canada recognises it has an ongoing responsibility to make sure appropriate measures are implemented to mitigate the risk of slavery and human trafficking in its operations, either directly or through its service providers.

This case study is based on the 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report by Air Canada published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Air Canada has “zero tolerance” for any form of slavery or human trafficking in its operations and supply chain  Tweet This!, and is committed to acting responsibly and with integrity in all its business dealings, respecting and upholding the human rights of employees, suppliers and business partners. In order to combat human trafficking Air Canada took action to:
  • implement a Supplier Code of Conduct
  • provide training
  • partner with an advocacy organisation to raise awareness

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report Air Canada identified a range of material issues, such as data protection and privacy, economic performance, energy consumption, sustainable governance, labour relations and employee engagement. Among these, combatting human trafficking stands out as a key material issue for Air Canada.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Air Canada engages with: 

Stakeholder Group
Investors
Customers
Employees
Suppliers
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
Governments

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Air Canada engaged with its stakeholders through interviews, workshops, targeted surveys and a feedback mechanism, available via email.

What actions were taken by Air Canada to combat human trafficking?

In its 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report Air Canada reports that it took the following actions for combatting human trafficking:

  • Implementing a Supplier Code of Conduct
  • Air Canada implements a Supplier Code of Conduct, which forms an integral part of its material supplier contracts. It sets out the standards Air Canada expects its suppliers to uphold at all times relating to various matters, including human trafficking, slavery, child labour, non-discrimination and human rights, employment conditions, ethical behaviour and much more. It also enables Air Canada to audit its suppliers for these concerns. Additionally, in selecting its suppliers, Air Canada carries out due diligence using up-to-date industry standard tools to identify legal and reputational issues. The reputational risk assessment encompasses human trafficking risk.
  • Providing training
  • All Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge flight attendants are trained on modern slavery and human trafficking awareness and on how to recognise and report suspicious behaviour. Air Canada is planning to expand this form of training to all customer service agents in Canada and abroad, and has a “zero-tolerance” policy with respect to the sexual exploitation of children. Both Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations seek to make sure that partner hotels support this policy, and that their business practices do not compromise it in any manner. In addition, Air Canada assesses risks related to human trafficking and forced labour associated with its operations and supply base in relation to new routes and at new destinations.
  • Partnering with an advocacy organisation to raise awareness
  • In 2018, the Air Canada Foundation partnered with Beyond Borders to raise awareness about child sex tourism and trafficking. Beyond Borders ECPAT Canada is a bilingual national advocacy organisation advancing the rights of children everywhere to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation. A working group comprised of Air Canada senior management subject-matter experts is tasked with the identification and coordination of initiatives in this regard.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Elimination of forced or compulsory labor

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Air Canada, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Air Canada: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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