FTSE100 slavery reports 'expose shocking inaction'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
17 October 2016

The majority of FTSE100 firms that have made slavery statements demonstrate “weak risk assessment and due diligence”, according to research.

An analysis by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre found 27 FTSE100 firms have reported so far but “most companies provide too little information on the structure and complexity of their supply chains”.

“Even fewer identify specific slavery risks, both with regard to the type of risk and where in the supply the risk was identified.

“Without this crucial first step of understanding their own operations and supply chains, companies are unlikely to be able to take significant action on slavery.”

The report coincides with Anti-Slavery Day, set up to raise awareness of the issue.

The research ranked firms in tiers from one to 10. None made it into the first two tiers but the best-performing firms, Marks & Spencer and SAB Miller, fell into tier three. The lowest scorers were Experian, Provident Financial and SSE, in tier nine, and Babcock International, tier 10.

Of the 27 statements, 15 fully complied with the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act. This means they were approved by the board, signed by a company director and are available from the company homepage.

Phil Bloomer, executive director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, said: “This is the first year of reporting, so no-one expects perfection. But it’s disappointing how small the leadership group is.

“No company wants the scourge of slavery in its operations and supply chains, so why are too many well-resourced FTSE 100 companies apparently doing so little?”

Marilyn Croser, director of CORE Coalition, a corporate accountability organisation, said: “This analysis exposes a shocking level of inaction within big business on modern slavery. There is simply no excuse for such well-resourced companies to publish these poor quality reports.”

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