Nations Commit to Principles on Mitigating Modern Slavery Risk in Supply Chains

Nations Commit to Principles on Mitigating Modern Slavery Risk in Supply Chains

While globalization has created immense opportunity for international businesses, it has also introduced additional risks into the supply chains of companies around the world. Investor and consumer pressure to operate ethically has grown, and companies are now expected to perform the appropriate due diligence in mitigating a variety of supply chain risks, including human trafficking and slavery.

In an effort to combat modern slavery, several governments have published guidance on identifying and mitigating human rights risk in global supply chains.

UK Releases Principles on Mitigating Modern Slavery in Global Supply Chains

In cooperation with Canada, New Zealand and Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) has developed a set of four key principles that call for nations to eliminate human trafficking in global supply chains. These were announced at this year’s United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September. These principles state that governments should:

  • Take steps to prevent, mitigate and remedy human trafficking in their own procurement practices.
  • Encourage private sector companies to prevent and address human trafficking in their supply chains, and work with them to achieve this goal.
  • Advance responsible recruitment policies and practices by implementing policies that support ethical practices in the private sector.
  • Strive for harmonization by sharing information and aligning regulations to curtail human trafficking in global supply chains.

The adoption of principles to tackle modern slavery in global supply chains signals a continued commitment to this issue, which affects 40 million people worldwide.

Through the establishment of clear expectations, and the provision of tools and incentives to support meaningful action, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are leading the way in the development of a more standardized approach to private sector modern slavery due diligence and transparency.

Québec Publishes Modern Slavery Disclosure Requirements

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the regulatory body for Québec’s financial sector, recently published a notice regarding modern slavery disclosure requirements.   

While there will be no new disclosure requirements or modifications to existing criteria, AMF’s notice specifies that issuers are required to disclose modern slavery risks that are relevant to the company. The notice also provides guidance on current disclosure requirements pertaining to modern slavery issues, including:

  • The disclosure of modern slavery concerns, particularly risk factors and social policies.
  • What information must be disclosed in an Annual Information Form (AIF) to ensure it complies with active regulations.

The AMF recommends that issuers ask themselves the following questions in order to identify ways they may be exposed to risk:

  • Is the issuer a party to litigation involving issues of modern slavery?
  • What are the real and expected consequences of regulations relating to modern slavery on the issuer’s business and strategy?
  • How does the issuer handle issues related to modern slavery? This can have an impact on fundamental assets such as brand value, consumer confidence, employee loyalty and fundraising.
  • What operational impact will the issuer’s activities have on their workforce and their relationship with local communities?

Corporate Responsibility and Compliance With Assent

As part of the Assent Compliance Platform, the Corporate Social Responsibility Suite helps companies streamline and automate their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. The suite includes a Human Trafficking and Slavery Module, which enables companies to efficiently collect and manage supply chain data, and identify and mitigate human rights-related risk. To learn more about how Assent can help you manage your CSR program, email us at info@assentcompliance.com.

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