‘For the English to see’ or effective change? How supply chains are shaped by laws and regulations, and what that means for the exposure of modern slavery

by Silvia Marina Pinheiro, Caroline Emberson and Alexander Trautrims

31 May 2019
Journal of the British Academy
24 (pp. 167-190)

Abstract: Global supply chains cross and connect judicial systems, providing regulatory and legal frameworks in which supply chains operate. This article investigates the impact and implementation of modern slavery laws and the broader legal framework surrounding Brazilian–UK beef and timber supply chains towards their modern slavery exposure in connection with their supply-chain characteristics. The article outlines the current challenges presented by modern slavery, labour exploitation, and human rights implementation to supply-chain management and explains the origins and application of current legal frameworks in which these supply chains operate. The heterogeneity of the two sectors allows the extraction of variations in supply-chain characteristics such as buyer–supplier relationships, responsible sourcing, supply-chain compliance, and the availability and accessibility of sales markets and supply options. These supply-chain characteristics are then connected to the legal frameworks and to current business practices to discuss their effect towards modern slavery risks and exposure.

Keywords: Modern slavery, responsible sourcing, supply chain compliance, labour exploitation, human rights implementation.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 7,
supplementary issue 1 (Tackling Modern Slavery: Problems and Possibilities).

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