There are significant shortcomings in the quality of many companies’ modern slavery reporting, according to new research from the FRC, Lancaster University and the UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
The research looked at a sample of 100 major companies’ modern slavery statements and their strategic and governance reports.
One in 10 companies do not provide a modern slavery statement despite it being a legal requirement. Where companies did comply, only one-third of these statements were considered clear and easy to read.
The majority of modern slavery statements reviewed were fragmented, lacked a clear focus and narrative, and often contained ‘boilerplate’ language. Disclosures about key performance indicators (KPIs) measuring the effectiveness of steps to minimise modern slavery risks were particularly poor. Only a quarter of companies disclosed KPI results and just 12% confirmed they have made informed decisions based on those KPIs.
The review suggests that too many companies appear not to view human rights issues in their workforce and supply chain as a principal source of risk for their business, and that modern slavery considerations are still not a mainstream concern for many boardrooms.
FRC CEO Jon Thompson said: “High-quality reporting is vital to shining a light on how seriously businesses take social issues in their day-to-day operations.
“It is therefore unacceptable that many companies did not produce a modern slavery statement and that modern slavery considerations appear to not be a mainstream concern for many boardrooms.
Looking ahead, companies must clearly set out the actions they are taking to deal with modern day slavery in all aspects of their operations.”