Panorama for the BBC ran an investigation into supply chain slavery this week implicating Marks & Spencer, Zara Mango and Asos.
M&S were named the best FTSE100 company for modern slavery reporting recently, and made a modern slavery statement.
David Noble, Group CEO, CIPS said:
“It’s no longer acceptable for businesses to ignore what they can’t see. Recent changes to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 mean that businesses must eradicate all traces of forced labour, not only from their own business but from every supplier they buy from at home and abroad. If they are unable to convincingly outline the steps they are taking to make their supply chain slavery-free, they risk damaging both their reputation and their bottom line.
“However, the impact of the Act appears to be limited so far with only a very small percentage of British businesses proactively taking steps to tackle the issue. A recent survey conducted by CIPS show that one in five of businesses who fall under the new rules were unaware of the requirements. Just a third of businesses surveyed claimed to have mapped their suppliers to understand the potential risks and exposure to modern slavery, and more than half admit they would have no idea what to do if slavery were to be found in their supply chains.
“To truly eliminate this evil from UK procurement, businesses need to step up their game. They should start mapping their supply chains properly and put measures in place to monitor malpractice. Ultimately, the legal duty in the Act must not override the moral obligation of us all to make sure our supply chains are slavery-free.
There is still limited awareness of the Act. CIPS offers a range of sources.