British food and beverage companies meeting the Modern Slavery Act

Rick Sanderson FIFST, Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships, STAR Index, asks should modern slavery be the price we pay for ‘affordable’ food? He reviews the performance of British food and beverage companies at meeting the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act.

We tackle:

  • The cold reality of Modern Slavery
  • A framework of broader ‘social compliance’
  • Review of food and beverage company compliance with the Act
  • And the conclusion we have drawn

In October 2015 the Modern Slavery Act was passed, the first of its kind in Europe, and one of the first in the world to specifically address slavery and trafficking in the 21st century. The new legislation enhanced support and protection for victims and gave law enforcement the tools they need to target today’s slave drivers and ensure perpetrators can be severely punished. Crucially it included provision to encourage businesses to take action to ensure their end-to-end supply chains are slavery free.

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    Hidden in plain sight

    The legislation only applies to those companies headquartered in the UK with a turnover in excess of £36m. This threshold was chosen as an assessment of those businesses with enough significance to influence their supply chain and cascade the intentions of the Act. As a bare minimum, the Act requires companies to produce a statement of how they are ensuring that their supply chain is slavery free. So 7 years have since passed, this paper explores the food industry response, and what progress has been made.