A year after the introduction of the business reporting obligation in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 we take a look at the approach taken to statements to date and possible future developments in this area.
Modern slavery and human trafficking are two of the biggest human rights challenges of our time. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 seeks to tackle these issues in a number of ways, including imposing a requirement on organisations carrying out a business (or part of a business) in the UK, and with a turnover of £36 million or more, to publish an annual modern slavery statement.
The statement must detail the steps the organisation is taking to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking are not present in its business or global supply chains. The statement must be signed by a director and a link to the statement must be included in a prominent place on the organisation’s website homepage. Companies with a year end of 31 March should already have published their statement, whereas those with a 31 December year end are due to publish in the first half of 2017, giving the latter the advantage of being able to review and benchmark their statements against those already published.
For background on the reporting requirement in the Act, please see our blog post of October 2015.
One year on, the question is what approach are companies taking to their Modern Slavery Act statements, how much interest have the press and consumer groups shown on this topic and what does this say about the initial success of the reporting obligation?