UK slavery rules to cover companies with £36m turnover

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UK businesses with a turnover of more than £36 million will have to set out the steps they have taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their supply chain, prime minister David Cameron has revealed.

The Modern Slavery Act received Royal Assent in March. Speaking before a visit to Vietnam, Cameron said: “From October, we will require all businesses with a £36 million turnover or above to disclose what they are doing to ensure their business and supply chains are slavery free. This measure is one of the first of its kind in the world and it will be a huge step forward, introducing greater accountability on business for the condition of their supply chains.”

The move has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. CEO David Noble said: “With 11 per cent of British business leaders saying it is likely that modern slavery already plays a role in their supply chains, this is clearly a pervasive issue that concerns us all.”

“We therefore welcome the new measure that requires large companies to publish an annual statement setting out what steps they are taking to ensure that slave labour is not being used.

However, if the Modern Slavery Act is to have a chance of truly eliminating slavery from British supply chains, then the Government must not limit the application of the Act to large firms only. Modern day slavery is not a problem confined to the supply chains of large multinational corporations. On the contrary, SMEs can have long and complicated supply chains. In fact, our research shows that four out of five British SMEs say they are struggling to gain end-to-end visibility of their own supply chains. They are, therefore, perhaps in most need of guidance.”

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