It’s appalling that there are 28-30 million people around the world living in slavery today. That’s equivalent to roughly half the UK population.
This is why we have committed to helping end modern slavery, and I applaud the UK government’s plans to introduce a Modern Slavery Bill to parliament this June.
Sadly, much of today’s slavery is found in corporate supply chains. While it’s hard to get exact figures, experts think that about 20 million people are enslaved making goods, many of which end up in global markets. This is simply unacceptable. It’s deeply unethical, and it’s also bad business. Thankfully, leading companies around the world, like IKEA and Tesco, have shown that building clean and ethical supply chains is good for their bottom lines.
Here at Virgin, we’re working to ensure that we do not engage in business with companies anywhere in our supply chains that risk being tainted by modern slavery.
I hope other business leaders will get behind these efforts and help us end this shameful scourge. And I also keep my hopes up that the UK Government will provide leadership and legislate for Transparency in Supply Chains as part of the Modern Slavery Bill.
Do you care about this issue? If you are in the UK, the most important thing you can do is to write to your MP, the Home Secretary, Business Secretary and even the Prime Minister to ask him/her to support Transparency in Supply Chains legislation. It doesn’t have to be a long or fancy letter – a short note will do. Find your MP’s address here