Expert view: Non-financial reporting

The Thomson Reuters Foundation describes the issue of modern slavery for business and lists questions for risk managers to ask.

Modern slavery is a $150 billion industry affecting 45.8 million people worldwide according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index.  It may exist in your enterprise. This is, perhaps, not surprising if we consider the complexity of modern supply chains.

Governments around the world have enacted a raft of laws and updates to tackle the modern slavery industry and ensure transparency – from the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, the UK Modern Slavery Act, and the US Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act and proposed Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking & Slavery Act.

This is an essential part of the solution, but it is ultimately up to companies themselves to act.  What should you as a risk manager be asking?


Expert view:

Questions to ask to identify and remove modern slavery from business

 The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, has launched the Stop Slavery Award, a business-friendly initiative to recognise companies that transparently disclose information about their supply chains and take concrete steps to remove instances of forced labour. It will be awarded for the first time in November 2016.

All companies applying for the award completed a detailed questionnaire, an extremely useful starting point for any risk manager wanting to be more aware of the issue.

The questionnaire aims to highlight best practices relating to corporate commitment and reporting, together with performance measurement, business partner engagement, training, risk assessment, business authentication, and investigation and remediation.

Key questions for risk managers to ask:

  • Have you developed partnerships with other businesses, NGOs or government actors to gain a better understanding of the risks faced by workers at your operations or within your supply chain?
  • Do you complete risk mapping, risk analysis and due diligence to identify and prioritise the risk of slavery at your operations and within your supply chain?
  • Does your risk assessment go beyond your direct (first-level) business partners?
  • Do you have a defined approach to addressing or mitigating risk, where a possible or probable risk of slavery is identified?
  • Do you conduct unannounced “spot audits” or inspections at your own operations? Do you conduct unannounced “spot audits” or inspections at your suppliers’ operations?
  • Do you engage a third party to carry out or assist with the audits or inspections? Are your audits or inspections tailored to take account of local or regional differences, including more prevalent risks?
  • Do you require your business partners to report on risks and remedial steps taken to eradicate slavery at their respective operations?

To download the full questionnaire and view all questions pertaining to risk assessment, business authentication, and investigation and remediation, click here.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote socio-economic progress and the rule of law worldwide. It does so through its four key programmes: journalism training and media developmentcoverage the world’s under-reported stories, its global pro bono service TrustLaw, and the Trust Women conference.