ASOS calls for UK to match EU with stronger rules on modern slavery
Online fashion giant ASOS on Wednesday called for the strengthening of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.
It wants the implementation of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation in the UK as part of the publication of the digital retailer’s fifth Modern Slavery Statement.
It said such legislation, currently being developed by the European Commission for the EU, would, if introduced in the UK, “ensure that companies must take steps to prevent and mitigate risks and protect vulnerable people within supply chains in line with their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles”.
The would mean businesses would be required to disclose these actions and be held to account for taking them, it added.
In an accompanying article published today in The Times Red Box, ASOS CEO Nick Beighton said the business would support such legislation “to drive up standards, alongside targeted interventions such as a UK garment manufacturer licensing scheme”.
ASOS said it becomes the first fashion company globally to include independent NGO commentary in its Modern Slavery Statement, provided by the oldest international human rights organisation in the world, Anti-Slavery International.
The commentary focuses on Anti-Slavery International’s views on the challenges faced by the fashion industry and garment manufacturers during the Covid-19 pandemic and the steps brands and retailers must take to address modern slavery risks throughout global supply chains. Anti-Slavery International has acted as a ‘critical friend’ and advised Asos on its modern slavery policies, in-country programme work and practices since 2017.
Beighton said: “There is absolutely no place for modern slavery in today’s world, and after an incredibly challenging year for the fashion industry and for garment workers worldwide, all companies and brands must now share the risks they have identified and the actions they have taken to ensure we can work together to deliver effective change.
Anti-Slavery International CEO Jasmine O’Connor added: “We’re proud to be working with ASOS to encourage the company to make sure its customers can be sure their clothes aren’t tainted by human rights abuses."
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