Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Modern slavery

In 2016, the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) came into force, which requires commercial organisations with a turnover of over £36 million to publish a statement detailing what actions they are taking to combat any risks of modern slavery in their own operations and in their supply chains.

Chains attached to price tags with barcode

The University recognises there are risks of modern slavery in particular in the supply chains of the goods and services we buy, and a number of staff are working to further develop our approach to combating these risks.

What is modern slavery?

According to the UK Modern Slavery Act, modern slavery encompasses slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, which may be evidenced through:

  • Buying, Selling or Transferring a Person (i.e. human trafficking)
  • Using a Person
  • Managing the Use of a Person
  • Profiting from the Use of a Person
  • Transferring a Person to an Heir or Successor
  • Forced Labour and Bonded Labour

What action is the University taking?

We are committed to protecting and respecting human rights and have a zero tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking in all its forms. We will act ethically and with integrity in all our relationships, and use all reasonable endeavours to enforce effective systems and controls to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in our supply chains.

In 2016, a stakeholder workshop was held to identify risks and opportunities, and areas where steps are already being taken. A Modern Slavery Working Group was then formed which meets three times a year.

The University's Modern Slavery Statement details what steps we already take to combat modern slavery, our relevant policies and procedures, and an action plan to ensure sustained focus on this issue.

A research report on modern slavery and universities has been produced for the sector, and is available to download:


We will act ethically and with integrity in all our relationships, and use all reasonable endeavours to take action directly and within our sphere of influence to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place.

Modern slavery statement
Modern slavery statement sphere of influence graphic: global, local and campus influences

Where can I find out more?

Liz Cooper

Research & Policy Manager

Contact details


  • Before completing an MSc in Business & Community, Liz worked on fair trade & livelihoods projects in India and Senegal for a number of years. She joined the University in 2012 to work on supply chain social responsibility, and currently leads the department’s Fairness in Trade and Sustainable Procurement Programme, including research, policy development, and collaboration with the Procurement Office on implementation. She also contributes to work on responsible investment, and leads work on developing a Living Lab approach – linking academic research to practice in the University on SRS issues.