// Asos calls for implementation of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation
// Such legislation would ensure that retailers take steps to protect vulnerable people in supply chains
// This would require retailers to disclose their actions and be held to account for taking them
Asos has called for the implementation of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation in the UK in an effort to boost the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.
The online fashion retailer also said it has become the first fashion brand to include external NGO commentary in its fifth Modern Slavery Statement.
Such legislation, currently being developed by the European Commission for the EU, would ensure that companies take steps to prevent and mitigate risks and protect vulnerable people within supply chains.
This would also require retailers to disclose these actions and be held to account for taking them.
Asos chief executive Nick Beighton said the retailer would support such legislation to drive up standards, alongside targeted interventions such as a UK garment manufacturer licensing scheme.
Anti-Slavery International has acted as a “critical friend” and advised Asos on its modern slavery policies, in-country programme work and practices since 2017.
Asos’ fifth Modern Slavery Statement covers the modern slavery risks identified and actions taken by Asos from February 2020 to January 2021.
“We’re proud to have today published our fifth Modern Slavery Statement and to have continued our commitment to transparency, honesty and openness in our reporting,” Beighton said.
“There is absolutely no place for modern slavery in today’s world, and after an incredibly challenging year for the fashion industry and for garment workers worldwide, all companies and brands must now share the risks they have identified and the actions they have taken to ensure we can work together to deliver effective change.
“We’re incredibly grateful to Anti-Slavery International for providing commentary and constructive challenge for this year’s statement and look forward to continuing our partnership as we seek to drive further change over the years to come.”
Anti-Slavery International chief executive Jasmine O’Connor said: “We’re proud to be working with Asos to encourage the company to make sure its customers can be sure their clothes aren’t tainted by human rights abuses.
“We welcome Asos’ call for a new UK law to hold companies to account when they fail to prevent human rights abuses.
“We hope other UK companies across all sectors follow Asos’ leadership, and that the UK government responds to the growing calls from civil society, trade unions and business to go beyond the Modern Slavery Act and introduce stronger laws.”