Modern Slavery Statement – Financial Year October 2023 to September 2024
This statement is in response to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps we’re taking during the financial year, as well as those we’ve taken during the last reporting period, to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains.
This statement has been published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
We understand that Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking is a significant issue with in all industry but with particular prevalence in the agricultural/food and construction sectors.
The Village Bakery Group holds a zero tolerance position on slavery and human trafficking and will not tolerate or condone any form of slavery or human trafficking within any part of its business or supply chain.
The Village Bakery Group commits to developing and adopting a proactive approach to tackling slavery and human trafficking.
Our Business and Supply Chain
The Village Bakery Group is a premium producer of bakery and chilled savoury pastry products in the UK, with several bakery’s in and around Wrexham, employing circa 900 colleagues.
Our supply chain consists of suppliers from around Europe, varying across an array of sectors providing raw ingredients, materials and services. As a minimum, all our direct supply chain are BRC or SMETA accredited.
Our highest spends include:
Our Policies/Procedures in relation to Slavery and Human Trafficking
We have various policies and procedures in place to further our commitment to ethical trade, human rights and tackling modern day slavery.
As a business we have made a commitment to respect workers rights and are members of Sedex, subscribing to regular external SMETA audits against the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code.
Our policies include:
Communication of these policies is undertaken through several channels included new starter induction and our Company intranet page ‘The Village’. Where policies are amended, or we wish to communicate reminders about their existence or purpose, individual emails are sent to all workers and noticeboards (physical and digital) are updated.
The Village Bakery Group realises that the potential risk of slavery and human trafficking is a modern day existence and can occur both internally and externally, especially when dealing with suppliers and third parties. We have assessed where potential risks may occur and have put the following measures in to place to ensure that modern slavery is eradicated within our business and supply chain:
As previously discussed, we have made a commitment to respect workers rights and are members of Sedex. All our Bakeries undergo independent third-party SMETA audits every two-years. During the financial year 2022/23 our Wrexham and Coedpoeth bakeries were subject to semi-announced audits in May 2023. There were no non-conformances raised in respect of our Human Rights approach. Additionally, no slavery issues were raised through our various reporting mechanisms.
Our new starter induction process highlights the issue of modern day slavery, explaining what it is, how to identify and report it. In addition this messaging is continued within our staff handbook and Stronger Together posters are displayed around each site, in the key languages our colleagues speak, on how to recognise and report hidden worker exploitation.
A robust recruitment policy and set of practices exist, in line with UK legislation, including right to work document checks, contracts of employment and ensuring that personal information provided is genuine.
We are working toward becoming a Business Partner of Stronger Together which is a multi-stakeholder initiative aiming to reduce modern day slavery.
Working with new and existing suppliers, we are making it a minimum requirement as part of our Code of Ethics and Behaviours for our key suppliers to join Sedex, a collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. They must also adhere to the ETI base code, an internationally recognised code of labour practice. We are currently working with our supplier base to achieve this.
Data and information about our suppliers is maintained and monitored on an ongoing basis. Internal reviews of risk are undertaken in line with an agreed frequency with results compiled on a Supplier Assurance spreadsheet.
To maintain knowledge of current and developing global issues we conduct monthly horizon scanning. This includes input from several sources including:
Training and Communication
Each employee receives information on Modern Slavery as part of their induction and onboarding process. This includes instructing them what to do if they suspect labour abuse.
Key members of the team have attended Stronger Together Workshops.
For our Supply Chain we provide specific guidance on our Ethical and Human Rights expectations and we will be introducing physical Supplier Audits to enhance our existing Supplier Assessment processes.
During this reporting period we have successfully met the following objectives:
Our Plans for the next reporting period / Key Performance Indicators
We have defined a number of targets for the 2023/2024 reporting period. These include:
Endorsement of this Statement
This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act (2015) and approved on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Village Bakery Group on 1st October 2023.
Group Managing Director