The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has published what it believes is the first ever free, open source guide for businesses on how to write a robust Modern Slavery Statement.

The new resource is the online version of ETI’s 2018 Modern Slavery Statement Framework, a clear quality standard for modern slavery statements that offers a structured, step-by-step guide for businesses on how to write their statement as well as a tool to evaluate a statement’s strengths and weaknesses. 

It has been co-designed with and road tested by ETI’s corporate members, so as to make it as accessible and user-friendly as possible.

Under the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, all UK companies with an annual turnover of GBP36m (US$46.6m) or more are required to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement under the Transparency in Supply Chains Clause.

But as the ETI points out, not all companies are the same – whether in terms of skills, the risks they face in their global supply chain, or the countries they source from – so every statement will be different. 

But there are overarching principles – being open about uncertainties and challenges, for example, and demonstrating continuous progress designed to have a long-term impact – which will be common to all. 

The framework sets out a standard that allows for these differences, while incorporating all the fundamental factors against which companies’ progress will be measured.

Six areas, each taken from the UK Government’s statutory guidance on recommended content for Modern Slavery Statements, are considered in turn:

  • Structure, business, supply chains;
  • Slavery and human trafficking policies;
  • Identification of risks, steps you can take to prevent and manage those risks;
  • Due diligence processes;
  • Effectiveness in ensuring slavery and human trafficking is not happening;
  • Training and capacity building.

“Modern slavery destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world, affecting almost every country and sector,” says Victoria Atkins, Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability. “I am proud that the UK was the first country to require businesses to report how they prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.”

The ETI tool has also been used to help produce the world’s first government modern slavery statement, which will be published this year, Atkins adds.

Click here to view the online framework for Modern Slavery Statements.