Clothing: Manufacturing Industries

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 23rd March 2021.

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Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote transparency and accountability within garment industry supply chains.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

UK listed companies are required to report on social and environmental impacts material to their business, including information about supply chains, where this is necessary for an understanding of the business as part of annual reports.

The Government looks to businesses to be open and transparent in responding to consumers’ interest in where and how the products they source have been manufactured, including the use of raw materials. Since being introduced, we have seen more businesses open up about their supply chains, identify high-risk areas and introduce tailored steps to support vulnerable workers.

The Government response to the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to taking forwards an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation, including:

  • Extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more.
  • Mandating the specific reporting topics statements must cover.
  • Requiring organisations to publish their statement on the new Government digital reporting service.
  • Setting a single reporting deadline by which all modern slavery statements must be published.
  • Considering enforcement options in line with the ongoing development of the Single Enforcement Body for Employment rights.

The Home Office announced a series of measures to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act, including introducing fines for businesses that do not comply with their transparency obligations. We will introduce the necessary legislation, setting out the level of those fines as soon as parliamentary time allows.

BEIS and the Home Office are also working in partnership with the industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners, including, the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association. This is aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment industry.

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