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Calls for major reforms to UK Modern Slavery Act & mandatory due diligence growing, Ethical Corporation reports

"‘We know most global companies have modern slavery in their supply chains’", 6 Aug 2019

The UK broke new ground in 2015 when it brought in the Modern Slavery Act, requiring all large companies to report on whether they have modern slavery in their supply chains. But four years on, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), which has been monitoring the quality of Modern Slavery Act annual statements since its inception, finds that the act has “failed to deliver the transformational change” that many of us hoped for...

If the government places more stringent reporting standards on companies, this will likely result from the recently completed independent review of the Modern Slavery Act, said Carrier [programme manager at the Modern Slavery Registry].

The final report from that review includes the recommendations, among others, that the six reporting criteria in Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act be made mandatory, and that companies no longer be allowed to report they have taken “no steps” in the last financial year to address modern slavery risks...

The independent review does not recommend that Section 54 be amended to require companies to undertake mandatory due diligence, but this is something that has been called for separately by many stakeholders...

[refers to SOK Group, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda, M&S, Homebase, Travis Perkins, Argos, Wickes, ASOS, Vedanta, Tony’s Chocolonely, Barry Callebaut, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, Rabobank, ASN bank, Bavaria and Heineken]