University of Nottingham: Nottingham researchers secure prestigious award after developing world’s first national standard on modern slavery


Two researchers from the University of Nottingham have been recognised for their exceptional contributions to standards-making, after winning at this year’s British Standards Institution’s (BSI) Standards Makers Award.

Professor Alexander Trautrims and Dr Akilah Jardine, Rights Lab Associate Director and Visiting Fellow respectively, won the Leadership category in recognition of their effective co-chairing that was invaluable in the development of BS 25700 – the world’s first national standard on modern slavery.

In February 2020, a committee was established in Nottingham consisting of anti-slavery experts from businesses, non-governmental organisations, and academia, combined with experts on risk management and corporate governance. With Alex and Akilah as its co-chairs, the group regularly met virtually over the next two and a half years, resulting in the publication of the new standard being launched on 18 October 2022, the UK’s Anti-Slavery Day.

Designed to help organisations understand modern slavery risks so they can manage them effectively, with the aim of eradicating practices throughout the world, the document has already been downloaded more than 400 times.

I’m incredibly proud to have been awarded this accolade alongside Akilah. At a time when 50 million people are estimated to be in situations of modern slavery on any given day and consumers and legislation are increasingly demanding companies to take responsibility for human rights and labour conditions in their supply chains, our main goal in creating this document was to provide organisations with the current best practice knowledge they need to address modern slavery effectively and in a systematic way.
Professor Alexander Trautrims, Associate Director of the Rights Lab and Professor of Supply Chain Management in the University of Nottingham Business School
The BSI Standards Makers Awards are the most prestigious awards BSI gives and were created to recognise industry leaders, consumer champions, committee management, leadership and more.

The judges commented that Professor Trautrims and Dr Jardine not only co-chaired the committee extremely effectively, but that their exceptional leadership has continued beyond publication, as they have led promotional activities to help people and businesses alike understand and choose effective responses to manage modern slavery.

Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM
It is estimated that the number of people in modern slavery is ten million more in 2021 than in 2016. Therefore, the work Alex and Akilah have done has never been more important to ensure all businesses are aware of the risks of forced labour, and of what they can do to mitigate this exploitation. I’d like to congratulate them both on this fantastic achievement.
Professor Dame Sara Thornton, former UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and currently a Rights Lab Professor
Since the publication of the standard, Professor Trautrims and Dr Jardine have continued their work alongside BSI, with the launch of a brand-new modern slavery awareness training in the pipeline, and BSI has proposed the standard to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

I’m delighted that Alex and Akilah have been recognised for the crucial work they’ve been doing in implementing standards for, and raising awareness of, modern slavery. The fact the standard has already been accessed by so many organisations is a testament to the demand there was for such a document.
Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham
An official launch of BS 25700 is due to take place in January 2023, with invited guests including the committee, academics, business chiefs, key networks, and members of parliament.

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