Law firm and tech company collaborate to launch innovative, cloud-based supply chain risk solution

Press release - Knowledge November 20, 2018

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright today launched NRF Transform | Risk Sonar, a secure and cost-effective solution that helps organisations identify risk in their supply chains, with an initial focus on human rights and compliance with modern slavery laws.

With a rise in new legislation, such as the federal Modern Slavery Act due to come into force in Australia in coming weeks, relevant organisations cannot afford to ignore potential risks in their supply chain given the potential for reputational damage and financial penalties. The scale of the problem the laws address is immense; the International Labour Organization estimated that nearly 25 million people were in forced labour around the world in 2016.^

Under Australia’s incoming modern slavery regime around 3000 businesses with more than $100 million in annual revenue will need to report annually on their efforts to reduce modern slavery.  In addition, NSW has passed legislation requiring commercial entities with employees in the state and turnover in excess of $50 million to report (similar legislation passed in the UK in 2015). Under the legislation, Australian reporting entities will need to report on mandatory criteria that include describing the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains.

Until the release of NRF Transform | Risk Sonar, organisations would have to endure an exhausting, manual checking process to monitor and audit their supply and manufacturing chains to identify their exposure to modern slavery. For large or multinational companies, the list of suppliers can number in the tens of thousands and cover all regions of the world.

NRF Transform | Risk Sonar is among the first applications by a law firm of analytics in the human rights space. Its clever use of cloud-based technology significantly reduces the time and effort spent mapping and assessing supply chains. As it scales with more data, the solution will also allow the firm’s lawyers to develop benchmarks per industry across the world, and identify emerging threats to business continuity and reputation arising from supply chain breaches.

The solution complements the firm’s global risk advisory offering, which leverages its extensive industry experience and the risk, governance and compliance know-how of its global practice groups to provide in-depth knowledge of the legal and regulatory challenges facing its clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright partner Abigail McGregor commented:

“In our conversations with clients about risk management and exposure in the human rights space, it became clear that there had to be a better way to assist their battles against modern slavery and compliance with the law. For instance, one company we spoke to said it used its own staff to manually trawl through questionnaires issued to 14,000 different suppliers to identify risk issues.

“This led us to collaborate with technology business Bourne Digital to develop a cutting-edge analytics platform that replaces a tedious manual process for clients. NRF Transform | Risk Sonar can assess large amounts of data for clients and help them identify and focus on areas where they can make an impact in reducing modern slavery in rapid time. It is smart digital technology that will transform the way risk management is approached.”

NRF Transform | Risk Sonar was developed by Abigail McGregor along with fellow partners Gavin Scott and JP Wood, senior consultant Greg Vickery, senior associate Louise Alford, associate Jacob Smith and marketing manager Catalina Panoiu. The firm chose Bourne Digital because it is a highly innovative technology business that specialises in cloud-based solutions and design thinking.

While the initial focus is on modern slavery in supply chains, the next area of focus will be on environment risks, along with other priority areas the firm is actively discussing with its clients.


For more information contact:

Alex Boxsell, Head of Digital Content & Campaigns, Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia
Tel: +61 (0)2 9330 8165 Mob: +61 (0)414 985 556