Journalist Annachiara Biondi reports that the British government is looking to improve the provisions of the UK's Modern Slavery Act – part of a broader legislative momentum towards accountability that is picking up pace across Europe. Compliance with likely stricter measures is looming for all fashion companies operating in the global marketplace.
The implications of any amendments to the Modern Slavery Act are international because it includes companies that are not incorporated in the UK. "Cross-border businesses will find themselves caught by one form or another of additional scrutiny and in some instances that will give rise to serious consequences," said White & Case partner Clare Connellan. "To avoid such consequences, businesses would do very well to consider their responsibility before the relevant laws come into force in whatever jurisdiction they are operating in."
Proposed new measures, which are an answer to a consultation on transparency in UK supply chains carried out between July and September 2019, include defining six mandatory reporting areas, establishing a single reporting deadline for all companies and creating a government-run repository of statements. The provisions will make comparison and benchmarking much easier for civil society and reporting organisations, said Connellan.
Connellan remains convinced that major change is on the way and urges companies to respond accordingly and in good time: "The risks of ignoring the increased scrutiny are too great for businesses to ignore."
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