Fashion + Sustainability

What are retailers doing to reduce Modern Slavery within their supply chains?

Modern Slavery is a heinous and often hidden crime. It includes slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. The impact can be devastating for the victims. Modern slavery can be found within companies supply chains.

Although you would think slave labour is in the past it still very much alive all around us! We also expect slave labour to occur elsewhere than the UK. However, unfortunately this is not the case. In 2016, 3,805 potential victims were identified and referred in the UK. In the year to March 2017 the police in England and Wales recorded 2,255 modern slavery crimes. However, many more crimes and victims go undetected. It Is unbearable to think about how many other cases, which haven’t brought to light yet! According to the Cooperate Leadership Report 2016, 77% of companies believe there is still a likely hood of modern day slavery in their supply chains.

”Forced labourers produced some of the food we eat and the clothes we wear, and they have cleaned the buildings in which many of us live or work.”

What are retailers doing to reduce modern slavery within their supply chains? Well companies now have a moral and legal responsibility, of ensuring there is no slavery involved in producing the products they sell.

However, companies have a moral responsibility of ensuring, that no slavery has been used in producing the products they sell. This should apply, not only to goods produced in their own factories. But also to their suppliers, and suppliers of their suppliers, all the way down the supply chain.

However, due to more fast fashion companies arising, they have a quick turnaround of clothing they need from the supply chain. This could put pressure on the supply chains, to work longer days to get the order completed. Companies buyers, also negotiate to get the lowest price of clothing. This could leave supply chains, feeling forced to accept very little pay for a lot of work!

The Modern Slavery Act passed in 2015. It made It clear, for any businesses making more than 36 million or higher to prove their steps towards tackling slavery. Thankfully, since the Act has passed. There has been a huge increase in putting methods in place to reduce slavery. For example, communications between their companies and their suppliers have increased by 58%. The responsibility of ethical trade within companies has escalated. There is also training and awareness for board members and senior executives, risk assessments, policies and procedures to protect staff.

Are consumers truly aware of what modern day slavery is?

Are consumers truly aware of what modern slavery means?

‘’If you are offered a service much less than what you expect, someone is being exploited’’ Due to our more luxury lifestyle, of eating out, going on holidays, over buying clothes. Things have become more affordable right? However, its someone else, who is having to pay the price for our ignorance!

How can us consumers help reduce modern slavery?

We may not think were doing a lot to help reduce modern day slavery, but every person can help!

 1. Look for the fair-trade symbol on items. At least you know the company is taking proactive precautions in fair trade.

2. Look into brands who have collaborated in initiatives, to actively combat modern slave. For example, M&S partnership with the Ethical Trade Initiative.

3. Challenge your favourite brands to do better! By emailing, instagraming or tweeting!

4. Speak Out! Talk to your friends and family about it. Make people aware of the issue.

5. Boycott brands that our not willing to change.

The more people are aware of the issue the quicker things will change. Every business wants to keep the customer happy, because they want profit! Therefore our voice is not to small to be heard, if we act as one!

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