Modern Slavery

Modern slavery in the waste and resource management industry, like in many other similar industries, has been identified as a potential threat.

All ESA Members agree to abide by the following ESA MDS Code, which sets out the code of conduct that companies must adopt when becoming Members.

By abiding by this Code, ESA Members are making to conscious effort to raise awareness of the risks and prevalence of forced labour, helping to identify instances of potential forced labour, and provide appropriate staff training to enable victim support.

Joint work on Modern Slavery

ESA and the sectors professional membership body, CIWM, have committed to a joint agreement to tackle slavery, forced labour and human trafficking across the industry. 

CIWM_ESA_Modern_Slavery_Commitment-1.jpg ESA/CIWM Modern Slavery Commitment

By working together, both organisations will leverage our combined membership, which has a significant reach across the UK’s major waste and recycling operators, to reduce the risk of modern slavery across our membership base and the wider sector. 

This will be achieved by raising awareness and understanding of the issue, setting out clear codes of practice and sharing intelligence, guidance and best practice. We will also work collaboratively to tackle the problem alongside other charities and sector bodies. 

ESA work with IPHR Forum

ESA works closely with the IPHR Forum to feed into a number of documents to help the industry tackle the issue of Modern Slavery


IPHR Forum Waste and Recycling Sector Modern Slavery Toolkit

October 2021



IPHR Forum Waste & Recycling Modern Slavery Protocol

October 2022

The Modern Slavery Toolkit is aimed at business to provide them with a best practice guide on how to address the risks of modern slavery within the waste & recycling industry and supply chain.

The Waste & Recycling Modern Slavery Protocol is a voluntary agreement and public pledge of commitment to work collaboratively to tackle modern slavery and prevent exploitation or abuse of workers.

We urge Members to read and act upon the advice and guidance contained within both these documents. 

If you have any questions about Modern Slavery, please contact Isabel Clifford, Policy and Public Affairs Officer.

Slave-Free Alliance


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Slave-Free Alliance Black (1).jpg

The Slave-Free Alliance is a not for profit organisation that is part of Hope For Justice, a global anti-slavery charity that works to end slavery via prevention, rescue, restoration and reform.  They work in partnership with businesses & organisations of all sizes, to help reduce the risk of modern slavery within their business.

Within the waste and recycling sector, they have experience of working with several leading companies allowing them to really understand the challenges facing the sector.

What they offer is practical recommendations as to how businesses can reduce the risk of modern slavery. Their services include

  • a membership scheme,
  • gap analysis resulting in a bespoke action plan,
  • training and site assessments.
  • a bespoke consultancy service.  

Their team comprises of:

  • lawyers,
  • social workers,
  • former police officers,
  • trainers,
  • outreach workers

All of whom have real life experience of working with victims of forced labour. Their experience of rescuing victims from supply chains, gives them a unique insight into how organised crime gangs are infiltrating businesses.

To find out more visit