Modern Slavery a Prime Concern for Firms

Intelligence and cyber security consultancy S-RM’s 2024 ESG Report has revealed that 23% of surveyed companies viewed domestic modern slavery laws as their most significant regulatory concern. In comparison, only 15% were prioritising the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. The findings also showed that corporate concerns were increasingly shifting from traditional environmental issues to social risks, including human rights and modern slavery. While 25% of investors ranked the EU’s corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD) as their most significant issue, only 13% of corporates considered it the most important regulation for them to consider. Following weeks of obstacles and potential abstentions that stalled the CSDDD’s progress, ambassadors of EU member states finally voted last week in support of the legislation, which also received backing from the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee earlier this week. A plenary vote by the European Parliament is now expected on 24 April. “Our survey has highlighted the widespread lack of confidence that the social pillar of ESG is being sufficiently tended to, with risks mitigated and value exploited across both investor and corporate groups,” said Natalie Stafford, Head of ESG at S-RM. “There is a clear consensus that social risks are rising up the corporate and investor agendas, driven by a combination of employee retention, shareholder pressure, board instruction, regulation and legislation, and consumer and client demand.”

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