Modern Slavery in SMEs

October 13, 2021

Key Findings from CHAS Research


CHAS, the supply chain risk management experts, are conducting a study on knowledge and awareness about modern slavery amongst SMEs, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab. Researchers surveyed 229 businesses, of which 222 are SMEs and 169 are companies operating in the construction sector. 

Modern Slavery in SMEs — What’s the Significance?

SMEs represent 99.9% of the UK’s total business population and generated turnover of £2 trillion+ in 2020, however, the Modern Slavery Act 2015 only requires companies with an annual turnover of £36 million+ to produce a modern slavery statement.

As a result, the preliminary survey findings show that while many SMEs believe their organisation is committed to tackling modern slavery, many fall short of taking further actions.

Modern Slavery in SMEs — 5 Key Findings

  1. The survey reported that 67% of respondents stated that their organisation is committed to tackling this issue.
  • Nearly 60% of organisations have implemented a modern slavery policy for over six months, whereas only 9% stated they had no intention of implementing such a policy in the foreseeable future. 
  • 39% of companies said they had conducted due diligence activities related to modern slavery for over six months. However, 17% of organisations had no plans to carry out due diligence soon. 
  • More than half of the companies surveyed had no recorded performance indicators relating to modern slavery - or plans to do so in the foreseeable future - for example, by recording the the number of modern slavery training sessions completed. 
  • Finally, the results showed that most SMEs look to the Government, other larger businesses and key stakeholders for guidance on addressing the problem of modern slavery. However:
  • 66% of organisations reported a lack of pressure by the Government and larger enterprises to check their risk for modern slavery and 67% stated they do not feel pressure from consumers and other civil society stakeholders to address modern slavery.

Implications and Anti-Slavery Actions to Follow

The findings show that Government policies to prevent labour exploitation are insufficient to address the issue of modern slavery in SMEs. 

Download the full report to get a full explanation of the study by clicking the link below.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT (PDF)

SNIPEF Associate Member CHAS offer a range of supply chain risk management services designed to help organisations address risks such as modern slavery. Sign up today to access industry-leading accreditation schemes and risk management resources, risk assessment templates, business shield support and more. 

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