Modern Slavery Statement

Introduction

This statement is made pursuant to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps that Whittard Trading Limited has taken and will continue to take, to ensure the detection and prevention of slavery and human trafficking within the business and its supply chain.

Whittard Trading Limited is a retailer of own-brand tea, coffee, hot chocolate and confectionery, as well as items of hardware such as tea and coffee pots.

It is a medium-sized business, which has experienced rapid growth over the last five years, and as such is now actively developing policies demonstrating commitment to preventing modern slavery, servitude, human trafficking and forced labour.

The Whittard Trading Limited Business and Supply Chains

Whittard Trading Limited has 49 retail outlets in the UK and franchise partners operating in international locations including China, Chile and Taiwan. Products are also traded with other independent third-party retail and food service customers, both in the UK and internationally.

The direct supply base is small, located in the UK and mainland Europe. The indirect supply base is diverse, with ingredients being sourced from worldwide origins including China, India, Africa and South America. Ceramics and tea and coffee making equipment are purchased from China.

Relevant Policies

Whittard Trading Limited is committed to acting ethically and with integrity in its operations to ensure modern slavery, human trafficking or any other human rights abuses are absent within the retail business, and throughout the supply chain. The following policies summarise the approach to the identification of modern slavery risks and measures in place to prevent slavery and human trafficking:

  • Whistle-blowing
  • Anti-bribery
  • Right to Work Checks
  • Equal Opportunities & Dignity at Work
  • Ethical Trading

Workers, consultants, contractors, agency staff and other business partners are encouraged to report any concerns related to direct or indirect activities. This includes any circumstances that may increase incidence of slavery or human trafficking. The Whistle-blowing procedure facilitates workers making disclosures without fear of retaliation.

The Anti-bribery policy requires employees to demonstrate honesty and integrity in all business dealings and to exercise appropriate standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.

Right to Work Checks reflect commitment to legal compliance, ensuring appropriate screening is conducted, whilst avoiding discrimination at any stage.

The Equal Opportunities and Dignity at Work policies, together with ‘Whittard’s values’, outline the active commitment to equal opportunities and embrace diversity to make sure that every employee, applicant or customer is treated fairly and with respect.

The Ethical Trading policy refers to the ETI Base Code and recognises its core elements. Suppliers are required to commit to high ethical standards in signed product specifications.

High-Risk Activities

Modern slavery is a complicated issue and worldwide, is hidden and difficult to detect.

As a company involved in the procurement of raw ingredients internationally, including from the developing world, Whittard Trading Limited recognises that this represents a key area of concern, and the focus of activity is the detection and prevention of modern slavery in the supply chain.

A risk assessment in the supply base has been conducted, considering historical evidence, economic factors, complexity and transparency of the supply chain.

Due Diligence

Measures in place to protect food safety and integrity also support modern slavery detection and prevention. Due diligence overall includes:

  • Assessment of geographical supply chain issues
  • Specific supplier risk assessment
  • Ongoing supplier audits and reviews
  • Membership of the Ethical Tea Partnership

Training

Whittard Trading Limited has committed to developing a staff training programme on modern slavery and human trafficking to include:

  • The basic principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • How to recognise vulnerability in purchasing practices and supply chains
  • How to spot signs of modern slavery
  • How to report potential breaches and understanding whistle-blowing

Performance Indicators

Whittard Trading Limited has reviewed key performance indicators and has identified that it will:

  • Document a modern slavery policy and strategy for issue to suppliers
  • Survey suppliers to fully evaluate modern slavery controls
  • Investigate opportunities to join other ethical schemes that correlate with modern slavery controls e.g. B Corp
  • Expand systems for the approval of new suppliers to formally challenge modern slavery aspects
  • Implement modern slavery and human trafficking training and raise awareness across the whole organisation

Nathan Smith, Director.

See our modern slavery statement here: