Deloitte’s approach to the Australian Modern Slavery Act

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Deloitte’s approach to the Australian Modern Slavery Act

Deloitte joins business efforts to eradicate modern slavery from business operations and supply chains

11 December 2019: Deloitte actions to meet the Act’s requirements

Deloitte seeks to prevent, mitigate and remediate modern slavery through our Australian operations and global supply chains. In order to meet the Modern Slavery Act requirements, we are undertaking a staged approach to assess and address modern slavery risks by:

  1. Reviewing our supplier standards and contracts
  2. Undertaking a supplier risk assessment
  3. Developing an ongoing risk assessment framework
  4. Delivering risk training modules.

Deloitte will publish its first modern slavery statement by November 2020, in accordance with Australian legislative requirements.

What is modern slavery?

‘Forced labour, child labour, debt bondage, human trafficking, slavery.’ These words evoke memories of dark times in human history. Sadly, slavery is not a thing of the past - it is a real issue around the world. Most of us living in developed countries are not aware of the scale of the problem. The intense demand to produce cheap materials, goods and infrastructure can perpetuate a cycle of suffering for those who produce them. It is estimated that more than 40 million people globally are trapped in this modern form of slavery, including 25 million in forced labour1. The prevalence of modern slavery in developed countries like Australia is significantly higher than previously understood. In 2016, more than 15,000 people were thought to be living in slavery-like conditions in this country2.

Australia’s approach to modern slavery

Australia is one of the world’s top ten countries that has taken the lead in responding to modern slavery, including passing the Australian Modern Slavery Act3 in December 2018. The act requires businesses in Australia with an annual consolidated revenue of at least $100 million to submit a statement demonstrating their efforts to assess and address modern slavery risks in operations and supply chains. The first statements for reporting entities using the Australian Financial Year will be due between July and December 2020 and will be published on an Australian Government website.

An Australian Government Guidance for Reporting Entities provides an explanation of the Modern Slavery Act requirements. A modern slavery statement is a powerful tool for companies to show commitment to their values and to engage with internal and external stakeholders on the issue. The first step is to recognise that there is a risk that modern slavery is occurring in company operations or supply chains. The Modern Slavery Act does not explicitly require businesses to undertake specific actions (such as conducting human rights due diligence) and does not include any penalties in case of non-compliance. However, we find that our clients are frequently determined to take steps so that their business does not cause or contribute to instances of modern slavery.

Deloitte is committed to responsible business

Deloitte is committed to being a responsible business, upholding the Deloitte Global Principles of Business Conduct that contain unequivocal statements about maintaining a responsible supply chain. We have actively supported Australia’s legal efforts to fight modern slavery by contributing to Parliamentary Modern Slavery Act consultations, and by helping our clients to identify modern slavery risks/actions, as well as prepare for modern slavery reporting. Deloitte regularly hosts awareness raising events and training sessions on the Modern Slavery Act. For more information on the Act, please visit our Responsible Business Blog.


References

1. Source: https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/highlights/
2. Source: AIC Report February 2019, Global Slavery Index 2018 and International Labour Organisation 2012 Global estimate of forced labour
3. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018A00153

Media Contact:

Louise Denver
Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications, Deloitte
M: +61 414 889 857
Email

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