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26 Jan 2022

Anti-Slavery International

Report: A call for a UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act

'A call for a UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act', 26 January 2022

"Anti-Slavery International is calling for the introduction of a new UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act to create a corporate duty to prevent negative human rights and environmental impacts, mandating companies, financial institutions and the public sector operating in the UK to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) across their operations, subsidiaries, and value chains. This briefing document outlines the rationale behind this call, as well as the elements that the proposed law must include to prevent modern slavery in UK supply chains.

Globally, including in the UK, businesses are responsible for human rights abuses in their supply chains. Adverse human rights impacts, including modern slavery, can occur at any level of a supply chain. Voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives have failed to protect people from modern slavery, as slavery tainted goods and services still find their way into our every-day purchases. In 2015, as a welcome step to address modern slavery, the UK introduced the landmark Modern Slavery Act, with the Transparency in Supply Chains Clause (TISC). However, the past five years of implementing the TISC have shown that it is simply not enough, having failed to drive tangible positive systemic change in supply chains and for workers. Ultimately, transparency and reporting legislation is insufficient to drive change in corporate behaviour, ensure corporations abide by the same standards, and prevent modern slavery. There is an urgent need for new binding standards which benefit all workers and their communities..."