Produced at the request of business minister Jenny Willott, the document will be released later this year in a bid to remedy such problems as forced labour and dangerous working conditions in their suppliers abroad.
The new guidelines will also include a framework of human rights reporting requirements, information on ethical auditing and accreditation schemes.
Minister for modern slavery and organised crime, Karen Bradley, said: “Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today’s society. All of us, including businesses, have to play our part if we are to stamp it out.
‘A stand against this evil’
“Companies have a social responsibility to ensure that those that they do business with are not involved in the exploitation of others. The government is talking to a range of business leaders about how we can eliminate forced labour and exploitation from their supply chains. I commend the BRC for taking a stand against this evil and raising awareness amongst its members.”
The pledge follows an Ipsos MORI poll published today (June 25) reveal more than four in five (83%) said the ethical standards of retailers matter.
More than a third (39%) said their shopping decisions had been influenced by ethics during the last year. The same proportion said they would spend more on a product if a firm acts in an ethical way.
Meanwhile, earlier this month both the Labour Party and the Association of Labour Providers urged the government to include provisions to scrutinise the food supply chain in its Modern Slavery Bill.
Their request followed media reports that prawns sold by leading supermarkets Tesco, Walmart, Costco and Carrefour were produced by CP Foods in Thailand, allegedly with the help of slave labour.