Addressing modern slavery is becoming a business-critical issue for companies – for credibility with customers, investors, NGOs and the public – according to new research by Hult International Business School and The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). 77% of companies think there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring in their supply chains, up from 71% last year, and it is perceived to be more widespread – in particular in the UK, and at the farthest reaches of the supply chain.
Twice as many CEOs and other senior executives have become actively involved in addressing modern slavery in global supply chains since the Modern Slavery Act came into force on 29 October 2015.
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Hult International Business School investigated corporate leadership responses to modern slavery within leading companies ahead of the first anniversary of the Act. Their survey and report, Corporate Leadership on Modern Slavery, involved 71 prominent brands and retailers, including in-depth interviews with 25 companies.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires large firms who have operations in the UK to report on their efforts to ensure there is no slavery, forced labour or trafficking in their business or supply chains.
From 31 March 2016, all companies with global annual revenues of £36m or more will have to report against the transparency in supply chains requirement of the Modern Slavery Act.
At least 17,000 companies, both those based in the UK and international firms with UK operations who meet the revenue threshold, will need to produce an annual modern slavery statement which must be approved by the board of directors, and signed by a director or equivalent. Most organisations might think they are low risk, however, a recent study by Ashridge Business School and the Ethical Trading Initiative found that 71 per cent of companies believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some point within their supply chains.
The requirement for medium and large companies is clear - but how does the Modern Slavery Act impact SMEs, Social Enterprises, Charities and public procurement practices?
71 per cent of companies believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some point within their supply chains, according to a new study launched today.
Modern Slavery Act 2015
Today the UK Government has confirmed that all companies with annual revenues of £36m or more will have to report against the transparency in supply chains requirement of the Modern Slavery Act.
This means that from October 2015 at least 12,000 companies, both those based in the UK and international firms with UK operations who meet the revenue threshold, will need to produce an annual modern slavery statement covering the steps they have taken to ensure there is no modern slavery in either their supply chain or their own operations.
Will the Modern Slavery Act achieve a level playing field for businesses and decent work in their supply chains?
This March saw the passing of the Modern Slavery Act in UK parliament. It includes a transparency in supply chains clause requiring large companies to publish an annual public statement on modern slavery. This should detail evidence of what actions they have taken to eliminate the risk and presence of modern slavery in their business or supply chains. The minimum threshold of profit, as well as the specific content that will need to be covered in the report is still being decided, but it will certainly include international companies with significant revenues in the UK, regardless of where they are based.
This week, the Government consultation on the Modern Slavery Act transparency in supply chains clause closed.
The Modern Slavery Act requires businesses over a certain size threshold to annually report on the action they have taken to ensure there is no modern slavery in their business or supply chain.
The consultation was seeking feedback on the threshold for disclosure and guidance for exactly what should go into a company’s annual Modern Slavery statement.
Some key aspects of Fifty Eight’s response are outlined below:
On Thursday March 26th, the Modern Slavery Bill received Royal Assent in parliament to become the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The Modern Slavery Act consolidates the current legislation relating to trafficking and slavery.
It contains a specific supply chains clause requiring businesses over a yet to be determined size threshold to report annually on the action they have taken to ensure there is no modern slavery in their business or supply chain.
The government said it was fitting for the Bill to be passed on the United Nations day of remembrance for victims of slavery.
On Wednesday March 5th, the Modern Slavery Bill passed through the House of Lords with a number of key amendments to the Supply Chains clause for companies.
The Modern Slavery Bill consolidates the current offences relating to trafficking and slavery, and is due to be passed into law by May 2015. It contains a specific supply chains clause requiring businesses to report annually on the action they have taken to ensure there is no modern slavery in their business or supply chain.
The primary amendments in the House of Lords will require a director to approve or sign a company's annual slavery and human trafficking statement, and also give guidance to the areas which may be included in the annual statement. These final changes are being debated in parliament on March 17.
The UK Government has launched a consultation into the Modern Slavery Bill provision which will require businesses with turnover above a certain level to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement.
In this statement a business must describe the steps they have taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of their supply chains or their own business, or they must disclose that they have taken no such steps.
The consultation is seeking views on what level of turnover a business should be required to have for this provision to apply, and on what the statutory guidance should cover.