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.
Annual Slavery and Trafficking Statement
The response also confirms the five general areas of activity that should be included in a slavery and human trafficking statement. For businesses who already produce an annual Sustainability or CSR report, the statement can be included as part of the existing reporting. The general areas of activity are:
Over the coming months, the government will produce guidance which sets out the kinds of information that might be included in a disclosure, but it will only be guidance. The response states “ultimately, we want businesses to take the issue of modern slavery seriously at the highest levels and for businesses to be able to determine, demonstrate and explain their policies and practices relevant and specific to their own circumstances. We fully expect slavery and human trafficking statements to differ from business to business. Clear and informative guidance will help to prevent this requirement from becoming a simple tick box exercise by directing businesses towards the kinds of important steps and actions they could take, without setting rigid minimum requirements.”
It has also been strongly suggested that there should be a central website which at least lists the companies who are required to comply with the Act, and which allows companies to flag that they have published an annual statement for their reporting period. The website would allow the public, businesses, consumer groups and potential investors to compare corporate responses to the challenge of addressing modern slavery.
Read the full consultation response here, or see more on the Modern Slavery Act and what it could mean for your business here.