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.