Food growers and producers in Britain now have new guidance on how to reduce the risk of modern day slavery in their supply chains.
The guidance, entitled “Transparency in the U.K. Food Supply Chain—Guidance on Ensuring Ethical Labour Standards,” is the latest in a series of resources made available by Stronger Together, a U.K. multi-stakeholder initiative launched in October 2013 to help reduce human trafficking, forced labour, and other hidden third-party worker exploitation in the supply chain.
The guidance provides practical steps for U.K.-based food growers and producers on how to maintain safe workplaces and ethical labour practices at every level of the supply chain. Specifically, the guidance recommends that food growers and producers implement the following three-step approach into their management practices:
Step one: Identify the organizations in the supply chain.
Step two: Set and agree to standards with suppliers for the supply and management of labour and services.
Step three: Work together in partnership to ensure due diligence with those agreed standards.
Modern Slavery Bill
The guidance comes at a time when the U.K. government said it will not include in its historic Modern Slavery Bill the use of slavery in supply chains, due to an EU directive that establishes similar obligations. “The government has already put in place reporting requirements for business to report on human rights, which include modern slavery in supply chains,” Karen Bradley, Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, said in a fact sheet on transparency in the supply chain.
An EU directive on non-financial reporting, set to come into force in 2016, will require public interest entities—listed companies, credit and insurance undertakings, and those designated by member states—to include a description of their policies in relation to human rights, a description of their due diligence processes, and the results of those policies. They also will be required to include a description of the principal human rights risks related to their operations and how the business manages those risks.
“These types of requirements are comparable with, and in some respects go beyond, those recommended by the pre-legislative scrutiny committee on the draft Modern Slavery Bill,” said Bradley. “We do not think a further change to business reporting requirements would help business to understand its obligations and take effective action to stop any abuses of human rights, including modern slavery in supply chains.”