New Zealand is the latest country announcing the implementation of a Modern Slavery Law that places significant responsibilities on companies to eradicate slavery from their supply chains.

Under the new law, companies will be required to be transparent and annually disclose the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains and operations. The law will apply to all companies with an annual revenue over $20 million, which includes around 4000 entities in New Zealand. 

The proposed New Zealand Modern Slavery Law seeks to address various forms of exploitation, including forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor. This legislation, with a broad reach, encompasses both domestic and international companies operating within New Zealand's borders.

“World Vision estimates Kiwi households inadvertently pay an average of $34 each week to industries whose products are implicated in modern slavery,” Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Carmel Sepuloni said following the announcement.

Hot Takes:
  • Organizations will need to share information about risks of forced labor at all levels of their supply chain
  • The information must be approved by a governing body
  • A digital disclosure register will be set up by the government to report on transparency
  • Penalties will apply for non-compliance
  • Regulator will have the publish names of companies who do not comply  

Central to the proposed law is transparency. Companies meeting certain criteria will be required to produce an annual modern slavery statement.

This document will shed light on various aspects of a company's operations:
  • Company Structure: An overview of the organization's structure, including subsidiaries and supply chains.
  • Risk Assessment: An assessment of modern slavery risks within the supply chains and operations.
  • Actions Taken: Detailing the measures adopted to prevent and address modern slavery.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Describing engagement with suppliers, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

The legislation is not expected to be introduced to Parliament until late January 2024.

Justin Dillon

Justin Dillon is the founder and CEO of FRDM, a responsible supply chain company.