Tesco, M&S, and Next identified as ‘leaders on human rights innovation’

Marks and Spencer (M&S), Next, and Tesco are among a group of companies identified as tier one ‘leaders on human rights innovation’ in a new modern slavery benchmark.

The recently launched annual benchmark of the UK’s largest listed companies by charity asset manager CCLA segments companies into one of five performance tiers that correspond with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioners maturity framework.

CCLA explained that the companies in tier one had displayed an “evolved and mature approach” to human rights due diligence, with “extensive discussion on the risks, case studies on systemic modern slavery risks in the sector, and discussion on meaningful activity to find, fix and prevent modern slavery”.

CCLA's other benchmarking tiers are tier two, ‘evolving good practice’, tier three; ‘meeting basic expectations’; tier four, ‘barely achieving compliance’; and ‘no modern slavery statement’ at tier five.

CCLA said the benchmark functions as an overall tool to help investors understand which companies are active – and to what extent - in the fight against modern slavery.

“While benchmarks may be a crude measure, the gathering of such data is important and enables more meaningful, targeted and potentially fruitful discussions between investors and companies to tackle modern slavery within a company’s own operations as well as its supply chain,” said Dr Martin Buttle, better work lead at CCLA.

He continued: “Our intention is that the benchmark, through regular repeated assessments of companies on their modern slavery commitments and practices, will provide an accountability mechanism by allowing investors and other stakeholders to assess whether companies are effectively managing the business risks associated with modern slavery.”

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