More than 45M people are subject to some form of slavery in the modern world, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index report.
The new guidance provided practical resources and training, based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework.
Stronger Together, which produced the toolkit, is a business-led collaborative initiative sponsored by the UK’s nine largest supermarkets and working with other key stakeholders.
Modern Slavery Act
The supermarkets have agreed ‘Common Principles’ which they expect supply chain partners to adhere to when they report under the Modern Slavery Act.
These support the UK government's objectives for introducing the legislation and are in line with the UK independent anti-slavery commissioner’s position on reporting.
Kevin Hyland, UK independent anti-slavery commissioner, said: “The Modern Slavery Act, with its transparency in supply chain section, has served as a call to arms to businesses on the need to proactively tackle modern slavery.
“But what really matters is how businesses respond to this call.
‘Ethical treatment of workers’
“We need to shift away from profit being viewed as the sole measure of success, rather, success must be viewed through the lens of long-term sustainable growth, and the ethical treatment of workers is central to this call.
“We need to shift away from profit being viewed as the sole measure of success. Rather, success must be viewed through the lens of long-term sustainable growth. The ethical treatment of workers is central to this.”
David Camp, programme lead, Stronger Together, said: “We encourage every business in the UK to be proactive about mitigating the risks of modern slavery in their own operations and supply chain.
“Registering on our website gives businesses of any size access, at no charge, to pragmatic resources to support them in eradicating human trafficking, forced labour and other forms of modern slavery from their businesses and supply chains.”
Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability policy, British Retail Consortium said this latest tool builds on existing retailer best practice on responsible sourcing.
The toolkit can be downloaded for free.
Food firms warned over slavery
A leading lawyer has warned British food companies to eradicate all forms of slavery from their businesses after a groundbreaking High Court ruling.
The High Court ruled on Friday (10 June) in favour of six Lithuanian men who were victims of trafficking allowing them to claim damages.
They claimed to have been severely exploited by the company that employed them, DJ Houghton Catching Services Lyd and company officers, Darrell Houghton and Jackie Judge. “This is the first time the High Court has ruled in favour of victims of trafficking against a British company,” said Shanta Martin, the partner from law firm Leigh Day.