Modern Slavery Legislation in Australia
Dec. 2 2020
What is Modern Slavery?
According to the Global Slavery Index, it is estimated that more than 46 million people worldwide live in modern slavery. Crimes of modern slavery encompass transgressions relating to human trafficking, forced labour, sale and exploitation of children and other slavery and slavery like practices.
Due to the frequently hidden nature of these crimes, modern slavery breaches can be difficult to identify and assess. For instance, one survey conducted in 2015 found that there was as high as a 71% likelihood of slavery occurrences in the supply chains of retailers and their tier one suppliers (Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability).
In response to modern slavery concerns and challenges, the Australian Commonwealth Government has introduced the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth.). Commending at the start of 2019, Australian businesses with consolidated revenue of A$100 million are now required to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
How do Organisations ensure Compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2018?
Companies who are required to report under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth.) will need to provide a Modern Slavery Act statement. As part of the report organisations will be required to submit modern slavery statements describing the risks of modern slavery in the operations and supply chains of reporting entities and entities owned or controlled by the primary entities.
To complete a Modern Slavery Act statement, you will need to provide the following information:
- The name of the organisation as an entity
- The organisaton’s structure and operations
- Identification of the organisations key modern slavery risks
- An outline of the actions being taken to address modern slavery risks in the organisation
- Statement the methods the organisaiton employs to assesses the effectiveness of the remedial actions being taken
- Provide information demonstrating any consultation that has taken place within the organisation’s business (including overseas) with regards to modern slavery
- Summary of any ‘other initiative’ being taken, such as consultation, collaboration, verification, etc.
While most businesses will not feasibly be able to map their whole chain top to bottom before the first statement is due, companies are expected to start by identifying their highest risks and aim for improvement over time.
Bureau Veritas Supporting Modern Slavery Act 2018 Compliance
The Modern Slavery legislation requires that brands and retailers engage in the verification of their supply chains to evaluate the risks of forced labour, human trafficking and other modern slavery issues. Compliance with the Modern Slavery Act further requires that organisations show the action they have taken to assess and address those risks, and the effectiveness of their response.
Bureau Veritas offer a range of both ‘off-the-shelf’ solution packages as well as customized and tailored audit, verification and assurance services that are aimed at addressing specific industry sectors and entity identified concerns.
Our services assist organisations to comply with Part 2, subparagraphs 16(1)(c) and 16(1)(d) of the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth.) for the identification of supply chain and operational risks and the mitigations put in place to address those risks respectively. With operations in over 100 countries, we are able to provide cost effective and practical support for your organisation. Contact us here for more information.