From the Voluntary to Mandatory Regime: The Race Is on for Modern Slavery Disclosure in Australia
39 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2022
Date Written: September 18, 2022
The Modern Slavery Act was enacted in Australia in 2018 to level the playing field and facilitate a “race to the top” by providing reputational incentives for companies to disclose modern slavery risks and the actions taken to assess and address those risks. This study examines the extent and quality of modern slavery statements (MSS) in financial and material companies. Content analysis reveals that the MSS are extensive though of low-quality and vary across industries and over time, with higher-quality information being provided by companies that have taken a “slow and steady” approach. This includes companies that have previously lodged statements in accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act and especially those from the materials industry. These results provide empirical evidence of how Australian listed companies have reported against mandatory criteria and highlight areas that require greater attention and scrutiny from corporates, the government, and even civil society.
Keywords: Modern slavery, indecent work, disclosure, legislation, listed companies, Australia
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