The UK Modern Slavery Act is one of the most far reaching pieces of legislation in the world addressing issues of modern slavery. It consolidates current slavery and human trafficking offences, and introduces new preventive measures, support systems and a regulatory body. The modern slavery act includes new measures including trafficking reparation orders which encourage to use seized assets to compensate victims and prevention orders to ensure that those who pose a risk of commiting modern slavery offences cannot work in relevant fields, such as with children and gangmasters.
The UK Modern Slavery Act states that companies must publish an annual statement if it has sales of more than £36 million and if some or all of its business is in the UK .It must confirm the steps taken to ensure slavery and human trafficking are absent from the business and supply chain or they must declare that no steps have been taken. This is in response to the global concern in growth of modern slavery globally as the ILO estimates that 21 million people in the world are victims of forced labor, a number that is driven by profits of USD 150 billion generated every year with this in practice. 44% of victims of slavery are transported across international borders due to geographic integrations of markets.
The UK Modern Slavery Act will impact over 12,000 companies and their UK and international supply chains. Many companies are already working on their statements to ensure that they are in place for their next annual reporting cycle. Your business has to comply if it meets the two criteria; Global turnover of over £36mn and carries on a business or part of a business, in any part of the United Kingdom.
These rules apply to public and private companies, and partnerships, wherever they are incorporated or formed and in whatever sector they operate. Some more details regarding the scope of companies targeted by the law (i.e. turnover thresholds) are currently under regulatory review and are expected at a later date.
However, as currently written, the UK modern slavery act indicates that most large commercial entities, not limited to the retail and manufacturing sectors as required by its California counterpart, will be required to report. Publicly listed companies already meeting reporting requirements for the UK Companies Act 2006 will be able to report on their due diligence efforts in their existing disclosures, while as of yet, no details have been provided regarding private companies.
The UK Modern Slavery Act requires companies to explain, and publish, efforts to:
No single organization has all the answers to this. And no one can provide an ‘out of the box’ solution. It’s more complicated than that. But we can help in many ways. We can provide the information you need to make sure you are not knowingly employing slave labour in your supply chain. This applies to human rights in a broader context than just the UK Modern Slavery Act.
We assess whether labour is freely supplied irrespective of legislation because free labour is a basic human right. That’s why we take a holistic approach and assess your supplier’s human rights policies, actions and reporting. This provides the information your compliance team will need to report on your efforts to prevent slavery in your supply chain.
EcoVadis provides the due diligence services, evidence-based rating and training in key CSR areas (including human rights issues) which demonstrate that your efforts are robust and thorough. We can help in 5 key areas: