New report looks at reporting progress under the UK Modern Slavery Act; finds need for better enforcement

Author: Ergon Associates, Published on: 18 October 2018

"Modern slavery reporting: Is there evidence of progress?", October 2018

...[F]rom a cohort of 150 companies we last analysed in April 2017, only 81 companies or 54% have produced a subsequent statement.
As there is no official monitoring or enforcement mechanism, companies that do not produce new statements face little by way of sanctions.

Among the 81 companies that produced an updated statement, [...] a significant minority (42%) made no changes or only minimal changes. This suggests that many companies are not applying a continuous improvement approach to developing reporting of their activities to counter modern slavery.

However, our interviews with leading companies beyond our sample suggest that the Act has served an important awareness raising role internally...

[I]t is notable that leading companies are calling out new policy commitments on fair recruitment for migrant workers...

[O]ur findings suggest that the essentially voluntary approach to reporting encapsulated in the MSA, with recommended rather than mandated content and with monitoring and scrutiny left to civil society and shareholders, may have reached its limit for many companies. It will be interesting to see if the government’s review of the operation of the MSA comes to the same conclusion about the need for better enforcement... [refers to John Lewis Partnership, Standard Chartered, Nestle, Marks & Spencer, Co-op, Primark, Ted Baker, Asos, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Whistles, Google, Marshalls, Tesco, British American Tobacco, Intel, Walgreen, Balfour Betty, TSB, Rio Tinto, Apple, Aldi, Intercontinental Hotels]

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Related companies: Aldi Alphabet Apple ASOS Associated British Foods Balfour Beatty British American Tobacco Co-operative Group Google (part of Alphabet) Intel InterContinental Hotels John Lewis Partnership Marks & Spencer Marshalls Morrisons Nestlé Primark (part of Associated British Foods) Rio Tinto Sainsbury's Standard Chartered Ted Baker Tesco TSB Walgreen Whistles