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Earlier this year BlackRock’s Chairman and CEO Larry Fink published his annual letter to the asset management firm’s investee companies. For the second year in a row Fink has focused on social impact. At the beginning of the letter he addresses the importance of practices that “will drive sustainable, long-term growth and profitability”. Fink acknowledges that companies are increasingly being held to “more exacting standards” by their stakeholders and stresses that business success in today’s…
In December 2018, the UK Government announced that it will introduce a new statutory code of practice to tackle workplace sexual harassment following a July 2018 report from the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Select Committee (the Committee). The Committee’s report called on the Government to: Prioritise sexual harassment: The report calls on the Government to place employers under a mandatory duty to protect workers from harassment and victimisation which would be enforceable by…
On 28 January 2019, the UK Government (the Government) explained the timetable to the new 2023 deadline for the creation of public beneficial ownership registers in the British Overseas Territories (BOTs). The Government has explained that draft legislation will be prepared by the end of 2020, as required by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and the BOTs will be expected to have public registers in place by the end of 2023, in line…
890 of America’s largest publicly-traded companies have recently been ranked based on priorities gathered from polling 81,000 Americans.  The poll, coordinated by Just Capital, asked participants what they most wanted to see from the nation’s biggest businesses.  The most popular responses were that participants wanted companies to: pay workers fairly; treat customers well and protect their privacy; produce quality products; minimise their environmental impact; give back to the communities they operate in; commit to ethical…
On 22 January 2019, the UK Government (the Government) published its second interim report as part of the Independent Review (the Review) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act), which began in July 2018 (see our previous blogpost). This is the second report for phase 1 of the Review, and it focuses on transparency in supply chains (section 54 of the Act). The report suggests that a lack of enforcement and penalties, as…
In July 2018, the United Nations’ intergovernmental working group on business and human rights released the first official draft of a proposed binding international treaty on business and human rights (the Treaty). Key features of the Treaty The key provisions of the Treaty are as follows: Scope: The Treaty applies to human rights violations in the context of any business activities of a transnational character. Obligations of states: Under the Treaty, all states must, among…
The UK Government (the Government) has recently published the first update on its Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-22 (the Strategy). The Strategy seeks to provide a framework to guide the Government’s anti-corruption policies and actions with a particular focus on economic crime. It provides a set of objectives covering a number of different areas, including bribery and corruption, money laundering, law enforcement, and guidance for both the public and private sectors and overseas. The update tracks the…
Major international companies in the agricultural, clothing and extractive industries have recently been assessed in respect of human rights standards in their businesses and supply chains. The 2018 Key Findings Report issued by the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) was released on 12 November 2018. The report scored 101 of the largest publicly traded companies in the world on a set of human rights indicators built on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human…
In November 2018, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre released its third annual assessment of FTSE 100 companies’ modern slavery disclosure under the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the MSA). The MSA, requires companies with a turnover of not less than £36 million to produce an annual statement outlining the steps they have taken to tackle forced labour and human trafficking in their operations and supply chains. FTSE 100 companies are the largest in…
Earlier this year, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) together with the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) published a report analysing the financial flows associated with human trafficking. The report: summarises indicators of financial transactions that are laundering the proceeds of human trafficking (e.g. multiple wages being paid into one account, rapid in/out transactions following receipt of wages); identifies challenges and good practices in detecting, investigating and prosecuting money laundering from human trafficking;…