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2 May 2017

35 global investors with over US$ 2 trillion assets under management call for establishment of Modern Slavery Act in Australia

Investor statement in support of establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, coordinated by UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment

The statement reads: "As investors, we believe human rights issues can present potential financial impacts through reputation damage and operational risks to our portfolio companies. We therefore welcome a Modern Slavery Act which would improve transparency on how companies operating in Australia are managing modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.

While we recognise that some large Australian companies are making efforts to provide good quality human rights disclosure, on the whole investors have limited information on Australian companies’ efforts to address risks related to forced labour. [...]

An Australian Modern Slavery Act would also complement recent legislation on human rights due diligence [...]. Early evidence shows that both the California and the UK legislation are improving availability of information for investors."

The statement suggests to keep strong elements of the UK Act, such as annual reporting and legal requirements including board approval, director signature and posting on the homepage, as well as to go beyond the UK Act and establish a central registry and include mandatory disclosure on supply chain mapping and due diligence.