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11 Apr 2016

Colleen Theron, CLT Envirolaw

Why does company disclosure matter under the Modern Slavery Act? Lessons from California and the Barber V Nestle USA Case

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...Why does company disclosure matter under the Modern Slavery Act?...UK companies that are beginning to consider what information they should be disclosing in their modern slavery statements should take into account what the court’s are saying in the US. It is clear that as neither the MSA or the California Act mandate that companies prove that they have stopped modern slavery in their supply chains, instead they have to provide information on what steps they have taken...

What should companies be considering in light of this case? 1. The likelihood of litigation arising as a result of forced labour/ modern slavery in companies supply chains is increasing; 2. The provision to disclose what steps are being taken in both the Supply Chains Act and the Modern Slavery Act are voluntary and do not require that companies can prove that they have eradicated modern slavery; 3. The statements companies make should form the basis of any defence in instances where misrepresentation is alleged; 4. Provided a company can underpin its statements with robust and appropriate policies and procedures it will be in a better position to defend itself.