30 August 2022
In our latest blog, Yaeno Fernandez Amano, Fellow at Anti-Slavery International, explores the latest polling results regarding modern slavery and supply chains.
A new YouGov poll conducted by Anti-Slavery International and the Corporate Justice Coalition shows strong public support for new laws which would require companies to take meaningful steps towards stamping out the exploitation of workers and avoidable environmental damage in their supply chains.
The polling shows that a huge 87% of the respondents support new laws requiring companies to take meaningful steps to ensure their supply chains do not exploit people.
These results are a positive indicator. They both show public concern for the presence of modern slavery and exploitation in supply chains but also environmental damage, which is increasingly linked to modern slavery as climate change is resulting in the forced displacement of peoples and loss of livelihoods.
In fact, a staggering 83% of the British public would support new laws that would require companies to take meaningful steps against avoidable environmental damage in their supply chains. Overall, the majority of respondents believe that current UK laws preventing exploitation of workers and environmental damage by producers and suppliers of consumer goods are not strict enough.
What the polling critically found is that support for new laws is extremely high across all UK age groups, regions of the UK, and across the political spectrum, with at least 84% in support of laws preventing exploitation of people across voters of the three main political parties (Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Labour) in the 2019 General Election. This consensus provides a strong mandate for action.
At a time of constant division, this is an issue the British public can be united on: we urgently need stronger laws that protect people and the planet.
In addition, there has also been positive support from the business sector. 39 investors, representing £4.5 trillion in assets under management, have written a letter showing support for a new UK supply chain law. What’s more, 36 businesses have backed laws in the UK that compel companies to carry out human rights and environmental due diligence in supply chains.
Such support presents a key opportunity for the Government, businesses, investors and civil society organisations to work together.
Our key findings
The polling critically found that:
- 64% of respondents believe that exploitation of people (e.g. poverty wages, unsafe working conditions or modern slavery) in supply chains for everyday consumer goods sold in the UK is a common occurrence
- 73% of respondents believe that environmental damage is a common occurrence in supply chains for everyday consumer goods sold in the UK
- 83% of respondents would support introduction of new UK laws that require companies to undertake meaningful steps that ensure their supply chains do not do any avoidable damage to the environment
- 87% of respondents would support the introduction of new UK laws that mandate companies to undertake meaningful steps to ensure that their supply chains do not exploit people (e.g. poverty wages, unsafe working conditions and modern slavery)
Click here for the full survey results.
Our call for a UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act
Anti-Slavery International, along with over 35 civil society groups, are calling for a comprehensive UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act, modelled on the UK Bribery Act.
Current UK policy remains insufficient to adequately compel companies operating in the UK to take meaningful action to prevent exploitation and environmental harm in their supply chains. New laws must go beyond tick-box obligations. The introduction of this new law requires businesses, the finance sector, and the public sector to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence, hold companies and other organisations liable for failure to prevent abuses through liability provisions, and provides victims of abuses with a clear path to access justice and remedy.
Watch our campaign video for why we need this law.
For more information on the UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act we are calling for, please read our full policy paper.
It’s time for the UK to step up: stand with us
The message is clear: the UK public want businesses to take clear, real, sustainable action to eliminate the exploitation of people and avoidable environmental damage in UK supply chains.
Do you agree with 4 in 5 people of the British public that we need new UK laws to protect people and the planet?
If so, take a stand and join our campaign by signing and sharing our petition to call on the UK government to step up and take action.
People and planet deserve better. Please, sign today.