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ASOS returns to House of Lords for Modern Slavery event with Baroness Young

Lauretta Roberts
26 March 2019

Young fashion etail giant ASOS is back at the House of Lords today to co-host a Modern Slavery forum with Baroness Lola Young, Co-Chair All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion.

A year on from the inaugural session, which addressed share risks in the fashion retail sector, the event seeks to assess progress so far and to challenge attendees to sign a pledge to implement meaningful practices to tackle modern slavery.

As well as ASOS, a number of its third-party brands will be in attendance including Boohoo, Dr Martens, Fred Perry, Missguided and River Island, along with Marks & Spencer.

“With a growing legislative focus on modern slavery, there’s never been a better time to act together to drive systemic change in the industry. That’s why we’re calling on those present to join us in signing our pledge to tackle modern slavery and move beyond commitment to more concrete action and collaboration," said ASOS CEO Nick Beighton.

The five-point ASOS pledge asks brands to commit to:

  • mapping and assessing modern slavery risks;
  • working collaboratively with others to develop tools and resources to raise awareness of risks;
  • training relevant employees about modern slavery risks within their businesses and supply chains;
  • publishing and continuously building on their Modern Slavery statements;
  • participating in an annual session to demonstrate progress made

Those third-party brands to have already signed the pledge include Dr Martens, Missguided, New Look and River Island.

Ben Lewis, CEO, River Island commented: ‘We are serious about tackling modern slavery so the pledge we have signed continues the work that we have already started with ASOS in this area. We encourage other brands to join us in eradicating human rights abuses in our supply chains."

Baroness Young added, “I am pleased to see several major high street brands sign a pledge committing to take active steps to eradicate modern slavery in their supply chains. By doing this, they show that there is space for pre-competitive collaboration when it comes to ensuring human rights due diligence. I very much hope that other brands will follow suit.”

The day of the event coincides with the release of ASOS's Modern Slavery Statement in line with UK legislation. The statement is a key component of ASOS’ Ethical Trade Strategy, which has been set up to help the brand tackle human rights impacts in its global supply chain and empower workers to realise and understand their fundamental rights. A key component of the strategy is an ambition to "drive a systemic shift in the way ASOS Design and ASOS third-party brands approach ethical trade and sustainability".

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