BSI sets out to challenge modern slavery with pioneering standard

BSI sets out to challenge modern slavery with pioneering standard

On Anti-Slavery Day, BSI leads the way in societal change to help organizations eradicate modern slavery in all forms with pioneering and revolutionary new guidance: BS 25700 Organizational Responses to Modern Slavery

London, UK – BSI, in its role as the National Standards Body (NSB), today announces, on Anti-Slavery Day, the launch of the world’s first national standard to help organizations within the UK and globally to eradicate modern slavery.

Organizations are facing increased scrutiny over supply chain issues and their commitment to ensuring the well-being of people and planet and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) reporting. The modern slavery standard (BS 25700) provides much needed guidance for them to help identify risks, and the potential victims, of modern slavery, while offering pragmatic advice on how to address the issue.

In a pioneering move, the new standard will be available to all on an open-access basis as a demonstration of BSI’s commitment to seeing modern slavery abolished. The standard can be used by international and UK organizations of all sizes, providing guidance on preventative measures, identifying, analyzing, and evaluating exposure risks, approaches to address identified risks, remedying modern slavery practices, and reporting mechanisms.

Modern slavery describes a range of exploitative practices, including forced, compulsory and child labour, debt bondage and human trafficking. Rights and duties concerning modern slavery exist in UK legislation, notably through the Modern Slavery Act 2015, as well as through international frameworks including United Nations and International Labour Organization.

The criminal practice affected 49.6 million people worldwide in 2021, according to estimates from Walk Free, the ILO and the International Organization for Migration, with 27.6 million people in forced labour.[1] Criminals profiting from this make approximately US $150 billion annually from the proceeds of these crimes.[2] In the UK the number of potential victims of modern slavery referred to the National Referral Mechanism has risen from 2,340 in 2014 to more than 12,700 in 2021, with the true number of victims likely to be far higher as the number continues to climb. Close to 8,000 people were referred from January to June 2022 alone.[3]

Susan Taylor Martin, CEO, BSI, said:

“Global disruptions such as COVID-19 and the return of war in Europe have created greater risks of modern slavery than those faced in 2015 when the Modern Slavery Act was enacted.

“Far more can be done to bridge the gap between policy and practice. BSI is committed to helping organizations understand what they can do in practical terms to eradicate this corrupt, criminal behavior which continues to plague the global economy.”

Scott Steedman, Director-General Standards, BSI, continued:

“Too many organizations, large and small, may not fully understand the prevalence and locations of modern slavery in their supply chains and they may also lack knowledge on how to protect themselves from its risks. With this new National Standard BSI is providing much-needed guidance to help organizations act decisively to understand, identify risks, and eradicate modern slavery.”

As the National Standards Body in the UK, BSI plays a vital role in helping businesses to adopt best practice frameworks aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including supporting organizations in understanding and managing the risks of modern slavery.  It aims to bridge the gap between policy and practice – with a lack of compliance, inadequate modern slavery statements and gaps between what organizations say and do on the issue undermining existing requirements laid out in the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

In addition, whereas existing legislation requires organizations with an annual turnover of £36 million or more to report on modern slavery, BS 25700 can be used by organizations of any size or type – this is critical given SMEs make up 99% of businesses and three-fifths of employment in the UK.

Mr. K, Survivor Alliance, BSI lived experience contributor committee member, said:

“It was a great learning experience for me working with BSI on the modern slavery standard. To contribute to such an important standard and knowing my experience will help so many people affected by modern slavery in the future, is both empowering and an integral part of my own personal recovery.

“Also, being part of Survivor Alliance has been a lifeline for me and I hope this important piece of work produced is embraced by all so we can create a greater awareness of modern slavery and help put an end to it once and for all.”

Shirley Goodrick, Slave-Free Alliance specialist added:

“Slave-Free Alliance welcomes BSI’s modern slavery standard as the first to provide guidance suitable for all sectors. Organisations of all sizes can take proportionate and meaningful steps to understand, prevent and address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Aligning to this standard will increase your organisation’s resilience to modern slavery and labour exploitation.’’  

BS 25700 Organizational responses to modern slavery is a pioneering British standard that provides guidance on how organizations can take practical steps to eradicate modern slavery through prevention, identification, response, remediation, mitigation, and reporting.

- ENDS -




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For all media enquiries including interview requests, please contact Nicola Cutler, Standards PR Manager, BSI on: or call +44 (0) 7825 906245

Notes to Editors:

The full BS 25700 Organizational responses to modern slavery standard can be downloaded here:


Technical committee

The standard has been developed by representatives from the following organizations including: University of Nottingham, Rights Lab; Action Sustainability; Orbis Procurement; Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC); University of Greenwich; National Grid; United Utilities; Walk Free Foundation; Survivor Alliance; University of Manchester; Anti-Modern Slavery Alliance; Home Office; Shiva Foundation; Kings College London; Cornwall Council; Save the Children; Institute of Environmental Management; Building Research Establishment; Seafish; the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety; Ardea International, and a number of committed independent consultants.

About BSI

BSI is appointed by the UK Government as the National Standards Body and represents UK interests at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI).  BSI traces its origins to 1901 and became the world’s first National Standards Body.  Its role is to help improve the quality, safety and integrity of products, services, and systems by facilitating the creation and maintenance of consensus-based, market-led standards and encouraging their use.  BSI publishes over 2,700 standards annually and withdraws over 1,500 old or superseded standards using a collaborative approach, engaging with industry experts, government bodies, trade associations, businesses of all sizes and consumers to develop standards that reflect good practice.

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