UN International Day for the Abolition of Slavery: Modern slavery in focus

There are an estimated 40 million people in modern slavery across the world today. To mark the UN’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December, Standard Life Aberdeen highlights the steps we are taking to help end these practices.

The term modern slavery refers to human trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour and child slavery. Even responsible companies can find links to these practices in their business and supply chains. It is therefore important to understand where the risks are and to do the right thing in addressing them so that we can play our part in ending modern slavery.

The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced by the UK government to encourage companies to take action to identify and prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and requiring them to report transparently on these actions.  At Standard Life Aberdeen we have an established working group with colleagues from across the business aiming to not only meet the standards of the legislation but to also go beyond them.

We have a vital role and influence, particularly as a procurer of services and as a large investor. For example, we engage with both our relevant suppliers and investee companies to understand what steps they are taking to address modern slavery and to drive change.

Bill Rattray, our Chief Financial Officer and sponsor of our work on preventing modern slavery explained more about the work we’re doing:

“At Standard Life Aberdeen plc we don’t want to just meet minimum standards, we want to lead the way in operating with integrity and motivating others to do so too.  We interact with many people both directly and indirectly and have no tolerance for human rights abuses in any parts of our business or supply chains.  We work hard to prevent any issues and will put things right if they do occur.  We particularly focus our attention on areas where we can really drive change – through our supply chain and our investment approach.  We integrate human rights and modern slavery considerations across our entire investment process, meet with investee companies to drive positive change and transparently report on our discussions.  As a UN Global Compact signatory, we fully support the aims of the UN International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December”.

If you would like to learn more about preventing modern slavery, you can: