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Modern slavery data for investors

This project focuses on the role of data in enabling investors to take action on modern slavery risks in investment portfolios.

Reliable data on modern slavery risks for investors plays a key role in ensuring effective action on modern slavery in global supply chains.

There is increasing recognition of the important role of investors when it comes to addressing modern slavery risks in business supply chains and the private sector more generally. Yet, actionable information on investee companies’ exposure to modern slavery risks is scarce and often presented in ways that are difficult to integrate into investment business processes.

The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and the Alan Turing Institute undertook research to address these challenges by conducting a landscape analysis on the role of data in enabling investors to take action on modern slavery. The project aimed to scope relevant types of data sources, review analytical methods and strategies for extracting insights from data, and consider ways of presenting such insights in practical ways to investors.

Investors’ information needs in relation to modern slavery risks are of growing importance in times of increasing demand for responsible investing and a rapidly evolving human rights due diligence landscape. Yet, resources and tools for investors are weakly developed compared, for example, to those tailored to the needs of supply chain managers.

While there is a growing number of initiatives aimed at addressing the information needs of investors, a comprehensive picture of what is being achieved and what gaps remain is not easily available. The frequent lack of publicity or coordination between relevant initiatives creates a barrier to the pursuit of the most valuable new ideas and solutions. The project’s findings thus provide a much-needed evidence base to unlock the potential of data for effective investor action in relation to modern slavery in the most significant areas.

The project engaged both experts working in this area and investors themselves to hear directly on their needs for data that would enable them to integrate modern slavery risks into selection decisions and company engagement activities.

Project team: Florian Ostmann, Alexander Harris (The Alan Turing Institute), Lise Smit, Irene Pietropaoli (Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law)