Defining Modern Slavery
The MSA covers several definitions that are also defined in reference to article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The definitions cover ‘Slavery’ which is is the exercising of powers of ownership over a person; ‘Servitude’, ‘forced or compulsory labour’, ‘debt bondage’ and ‘Human trafficking.’ Section 54 of the MSA requires companies with an annual turnover of £36m or above, and carrying out a business, or part of a business, in the UK, to publish an annual Modern Slavery Statement (see our guide to help determine if your company has to comply with the MSA). The UK Home Office has provided guidance for businesses to help them create the statement and, consequently reduce modern slavery risks. Whilst many organisations have policies and procedures in place to govern their own operations, activities in their supply chains can drive negative modern slavery and human rights impacts.
The terms forced or compulsory labour is most relevant to supply chains as it is the type of modern slavery that the majority of suppliers are most likely to face. In supply chain sustainability there is a need to ensure that modern slavery is not present in the supply chain. It is clear that if there is even a suggestion of modern slavery being present in a business’s supply chain, the reputational and financial consequences can be extreme. By taking the necessary measures, organisations are not only doing what is morally correct, but are also encouraging a positive atmosphere within the workforce. Employees are more likely to feel motivated to work with companies that reflect their values and this will increase the retention rates within supply chains. It is important for organisations to demonstrate that they take these issues seriously and establish how they expect suppliers to reduce their negative impacts. The policies in place allow organisations to govern numerous supplier relationships simultaneously to ensure their ethical standards are upheld throughout the supply chain.
Apart from these legal requirements, there is also a wide variety of approaches taken by companies when reporting supply chain transparency. Some organisations include details of the procedures they are taking to prevent modern slavery risks, as well as including the objectives they hope to achieve in the future. On the other hand, organisations who publish shorter statements, include very little detail. The difference between the level of detail in some of the statements can be due to a lack of clarity on what organisations should be including or how to take steps to reduce risks within their supply chains.
Ardea International have have been commissioned by Lexology Pro to create a How-to guide on identifying modern slavery in supply chains. This guide will assist in identifying modern slavery in the organisation’s supply chains to create improved transparency. The objectives of this guide are to encourage a risk-based approach for companies to help reducing the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains. The guide can be applied to organisations in the public sector, along with private sector and voluntary sectors.
How can Ardea Help?
Ardea Internatinional offers specialist consultancy support to organisations on how to identify and mitigate forced labour and modoern slavery in their supply chains. We also offer a range of specialist workshops, online training programmes and e-learning.
For consultancy support contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further guidance, refer to Ardea’s E-learning on ending modern slavery and forced labour.