Modern Slavery Act

Modern Slavery Act

Modern slavery is an emerging global issue that businesses need to be alert to, and need to be prepared to address.

In 2015, the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA) came into force to address modern slavery at home and abroad.

It contains a “transparency in supply chains” provision that requires businesses with a global annual turnover of over £36 million, and which “carry on” business or part of a business in any part of the United Kingdom, to publish an annual statement on the steps they have taken to ensure that slavery or human trafficking is not taking place within their own business or across their supply chains.

Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia

In early 2017 the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (Committee) launched an inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. The Inquiry's Terms of Reference included exploring whether Australia should mandate reporting by Australian businesses on their management of modern slavery risks in their own business and supply chains similar to the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act. Rio Tinto made a formal submission to the Inquiry and welcomed the Committee’s final report which recommended the adoption of mandatory reporting around modern slavery. Rio Tinto also made a submission to the Government's consultation on the potential nature and form of forthcoming legislation. This included calling for consistency with the UK Act though also evolution as appropriate to ensure continued progress in meaningful reporting and action.


Our approach

Rio Tinto welcomes the progress made in 2017 in raising awareness of business involvement in modern slavery and the innovative, often multi-stakeholder, steps being taken to address it. We continue to set clear expectations that our employees and suppliers will be alert to possible involvement in modern slavery and to reject it. We also know that these expectations need to be supported by knowledge and action to stay relevant and effective.

Our latest Slavery and human trafficking statement explains what we have done in 2017 to continue strengthening our performance.

You can also download our first Slavery and human trafficking statement, relating to our activities in 2016.


In the 2017 statement, we present the policies and standards that contribute to our control framework to respect human rights and help protect against modern slavery. We outline our due diligence processes, including our "Know your supplier" procedure, which helps identify the potential legal, ethical and reputational risks of engaging or renewing a supplier. We provide examples of how we assess and mitigate modern slavery risks, how we track our performance, how we collaborate with stakeholders and how we raise awareness and build capacity around these issues.

To ensure a robust and coordinated approach, we drafted our 2017 statement with specialist internal human rights support as well as input from the wide range of functions that help to protect against modern slavery, including Corporate Relations, Procurement, Legal, Human Resources, Marine, Group Security and Ethics & Integrity. We also obtained third party feedback, including from a leading civil society organisation. Our statement has been approved by the Rio Tinto board of directors and signed by our chief executive.

We recognise that tackling modern slavery requires a continuing year-on-year commitment. In 2018 we will continue to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to address our own modern slavery risks, as well as encourage progress in international and domestic policy forums.

We will carry on strengthening our ability to know about, and act on, modern slavery risks. And as part of our commitment to transparency, we also look forward to showing our stakeholders how we are performing and what we are achieving.

For information on our broader human rights approach, read our 2017 Sustainable development report.


people in around 35 countries