Investors support inclusion of supply chain reporting in the modern slavery bill

Investors with a total of £940billion in assets under management are backing the Government’s recent commitment to include proportionate supply chain reporting requirements in the Modern Slavery Bill.

Investors with a total of £940billion in assets under management are backing the Government’s recent commitment to include proportionate supply chain reporting requirements in the Modern Slavery Bill.

The Government’s introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill gives Parliament an opportunity to act decisively to protect the victims of modern slavery, and thereby establish the most effective regime in the world for the prosecution of slave masters and traffickers.

More than 20 asset managers have already added their support for the inclusion of Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) legislation within the UK Modern Slavery Bill, including;

Rathbone Greenbank Investments; Hermes; Aviva Investors; Alliance Trust; BNP Paribas; CCLA; The Church Commissioners; Henderson Global Investors; Royal London Asset Management; WHEB; The Pensions Trust; The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust; Barrow Cadbury Trust; Boston Common Asset Management; Calvert Investments; Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc; CBF Church of England Funds; Church Commissioners for England; Church of England Pensions Board; Ecclesiastical Investment Management; Newton Investment Management; Worcester Diocesan Investment and Glebe Committee.

Around the world today, there are an estimated 35.8 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery, according to the Global Slavery Index, who are subject to forced labour, poor working conditions and other forms of bonded labour.

Complex supply chains can leave businesses vulnerable to association with human rights abuses, which not only presents moral and ethical concerns but also poses real risk to business. Failure to manage such human rights abuses can impact dramatically on companies and their shareholders, damaging brands and reputations and risking severe disruption in supply chains.

TISC, successfully piloted in California, compels companies to publish the steps they are taking to address the issue of ‘modern slavery’ and ensures that the issue is dealt with at board level. A similar provision in the Modern Slavery Bill would ensure the UK’s continued position as a world leader on these issues.

Matt Crossman of Rathbone Greenbank said: “It is in the best interests of business to join the fight against modern slavery. The Government’s recent commitment to TISC creates an opportunity for business reputations to be enhanced and long term returns to be safeguarded, whilst transitioning at risk people out of forced labour and modern slavery. Embracing transparency in supply chains is about reducing strategic risks for companies and improving competitive advantage. Specific, but proportionate, legislation can allow companies to continue making progress, whilst ensuring that firms can no longer turn a blind eye to these issues.   From a long-term investor perspective, this is of great benefit, as it reduces underlying risk in investment portfolios.”

Naheeda Rashid, of Hermes EOS said: “Supply chain mismanagement can cause serious damage to profitability, shareholder and fund value and reputation, both in the short and long term. Companies which are able to demonstrate that they understand and are actively addressing the complexities of the risks in their supply chains will be better placed in managing both their reputation and disruptions to their operations. Hermes welcomes the government’s decision to introduce corporate supply chain reporting within the Modern Slavery Bill, which could allow companies an opportunity to increase their transparency and disclosure on how their actions address important social risks, such as forced labour. “

For further information contact:

Matt Crossman
Rathbone Greenbank Investments
0117 930 3000
matt.crossman@rathbones.com

Lora Coventry
Quill PR
020 7466 5059
lora@quillpr.com