Modern Slavery Act

Modern Slavery Act

Preventing and addressing our own involvement in modern slavery is central to our sustainability approach including our commitment to running a safe, responsible and profitable business. 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.

Supporting an Australian Modern Slavery Act

In November 2018 the Australian Parliament passed the Cth Modern Slavery Act, requiring companies with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million to report on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and their actions to address those risks. Rio Tinto supported the legislation from the outset, including making a submission to a related inquiry in 2017 by the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and a submission to the Government's later submission on the potential nature and form of legislation. Our submissions noted the benefits of the legislation for driving transparency and better practice and called for both consistency with the UK Act as well as evolution to ensure continued progress in meaningful reporting and action. Recognising the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration, we also co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister, alongside several leading civil society organizations, investors and business associations, encouraging passage of the legislation. We look forward to implementing the legislation and to continued shared learning to promote effective responses to combatting modern slavery.

 

Our approach

Rio Tinto welcomes the progress made in 2018 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 Rio Tinto employees and suppliers should be alert to possible involvement in modern slavery and should work to prevent and address it. We also know that these expectations need to be supported by knowledge and action to stay relevant and effective.

Our latest Statement on Modern Slavery explains what we have done in 2018 to continue strengthening our performance.

You can also download our first and second Slavery and human trafficking statements, relating to our activities in 2016 and 2017.

 


In the 2018 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 2018 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 leading civil society organisations and investor representatives. Our statement has been reviewed by the Rio Tinto board Sustainability Committee, approved by the full 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 2019 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 2018 Sustainable development report.

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