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UK: ASOS calls for mandatory human rights due diligence legislation

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"UK: ASOS calls for mandatory human rights due diligence legislation", 28 April 2021

Online fashion retailer Asos is calling for the implementation of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation in the UK to strengthen the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, as part of the publication of its fifth Modern Slavery Statement.

Such legislation, currently being developed by the European Commission for the EU, would if introduced in the UK, ensure that companies must take steps to prevent and mitigate risks and protect vulnerable people within supply chains in line with their responsibilities under the UK Guiding Principles. It would also require businesses to disclose these actions and be held to account for taking them.

Asos CEO Nick Beighton explains why the retailer would support such legislation to drive up standards, alongside targeted interventions such as a UK garment manufacturer licensing scheme, in an article published today (28 April) in The Times Red Box.

It's clear that the Modern Slavery Act needs strengthening. Adopting the recommendations set out in the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation, as the Home Office has done to its credit, is a welcome and much-needed step. It goes some way to bringing the UK in line with countries that have since legislated on modern slavery, following our lead while taking notes from the gaps in our approach," Beighton writes...

"Legislation would make this legally binding by requiring UK companies to report on their efforts to mitigate risk and protect people in supply chains globally. By building a failure to prevent mechanism into this legislation, following the lead of the 2010 Bribery Act and as put forward last year by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, we can take this further and hold businesses and leaders to account for not doing enough to stop all forms of human rights abuses - including modern slavery - wherever they occur, and in turn ensure that victims have access to justice."

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