The Modern Slavery Act 2015 establishes corporate guidelines that aim to eradicate slavery and trafficking, particularly within business supply chains. This is a significant piece of legislation that, first and foremost, aims to uphold human rights due diligence.
As of 1st April 2016, companies are obliged to provide detailed reports of their supply chain management in order to confirm their transparency and commitment to tackling the issue. Businesses must ensure that they are fully prepared for the new obligation when it comes into effect, and for the numerous changes that may be required to ensure compliance as a result.
Do you know if your business is compliant? Here’s what we recommend:
Read up on the UN guiding principles on business and human rights
The initial step for businesses is to familiarise themselves with the ‘Ruggie principles’ as outlined in this UN report. These detail the foundational standards by which all companies must operate.
Develop your CSR policy
Anti-slavery and trafficking policies must be developed, and could even be integrated as part of your corporate social responsibility charters. You can ensure consistency of behaviour and responsibility by having clear guidelines set out from leadership at the top, through to all employees at every level of your organisation, and across your supply chain.
It’s important for businesses to actively seek out potential issues in their supply chain in order to determine their exposure to risk. High risk areas should then be prioritised and addressed as soon as possible. Effective grievance training and whistle-blowing mechanisms are also a good idea to guarantee that staff are confident enough to flag up any issues.
Prepare a draft report
Although the legislation does not come into effect until 1st April 2016, it’s a wise idea to prepare a draft report prior to that to ensure complete consideration and to cover all bases in supply chain management.