We continue to be proud of the steps we have taken to combat slavery and human trafficking and we are committed to continuously reviewing and improving our practices and policies to combat slavery and human trafficking.
We are a manufacturer of poultry products in the food sector. Our ultimate parent company is Amber REI Holdings Limited. We have 1800 employees and operate in the United Kingdom. Our business is organised two sites based at Great Witchingham in Norfolk and Holton in Suffolk.
OUR SUPPLY CHAINS
Bernard Matthews Foods Ltd sources the majority of the protein and produce from UK farmers with additional supply from Europe, South America and Asia. Direct materials related to the manufacture of our products stretches across North America, Europe including, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, France and the UK.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANTI-SLAVERY INITIATIVES
The relevant leaders of the HR, Technical, Procurement and Operations functions are responsible for the implementation, development and on-going maintenance of the policy within their respective business units whilst also working together to ensure there is a coordinated approach to tacking this issue.
We remain committed to minimising the risk of modern slavery or human trafficking in our supply chains or in any part of our business. Our Polies on Preventing Hidden Labour Exploitation and Responsible Recruitment reflect our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place anywhere in our supply chains.
DUE DILIGENCE PROCESSES FOR SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
We have in place systems to:
- Identify and assess potential risk areas in our supply chains;
- Mitigate the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking occurring in our supply chains;
- Monitor potential risk areas in our supply chains;
- Protect whistle blowers.
SUPPLIER ADHERENCE TO OUR VALUES AND ETHICS
We have zero tolerance to modern slavery and human trafficking. To ensure all those in our supply chain and contractors comply with our values and ethics, we have in place a supply chain compliance programme. This consists of ensuring our suppliers are registered with SEDEX and are connected to Bernard Matthews Foods Ltd. We continue to make progress in terms of risk mapping our supply chain and developing an ongoing process to identify risks and taking appropriate action where required.
TRAINING & COMMUNICATION
To ensure a high level of understanding of the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in our supply chains and our business, we provide training to our HR and Procurement teams.
All managers and existing personnel have been briefed on issues relating to modern slavery using materials supplied by Stronger Together. All new personnel are also briefed during induction and posters and other materials are displayed across the business.
The flyers/posters/videos/training explain:
- the basic principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015;
- how employers can identify and prevent slavery and human trafficking.
- what employees can do to flag up potential slavery or human trafficking issues to the relevant parties within the organisation.
- what external help is available, for example through the Modern Slavery Helpline.
RISK ASSESSMENT AND DUE DILIGENCE
Bernard Matthews Foods Ltd is an AB member of SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) a not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains.
Three forms of formal risk assessment are used by the business on operations and supply chains:
- SEDEX ethical risk assessments of every site;
- SEDEX ethical risk assessment of every supplier, which is currently still being rolled out across the supply base;
- Internal commodity ethical risk assessment to identify risks.
The main source of risk internally is identified as temporary seasonal labour supply. This is particularly the case in November and December each year when up to 800 temporary workers are recruited for the Christmas Fresh programme. For 2023 this risk has been mitigated by organisational changes which have taken place reducing our requirement to circa 250 additional workers.
In addition we are Producer members of the Association of Labour Providers (ALP) and are working toward Business Partner status with Stronger Together.
Seasonal workers and external labour providers have been identified as areas of higher risk and we look to mitigate these risks by:
- Recruiting directly where possible;
- Undertaking structured induction and training processes;
- Undertaking questionnaires/interviews with agency personnel;
- Carrying out tender process for the selection of external recruitment agencies;
- Auditing the ID and RTW documents of all agency workers used by the company;
- Carrying out a robust level of audit and approval of all external agencies which includes:
- Agency labour provider audits;
- Agency accommodation audits, if an agency were to provide accommodation.
- Surveillance audits – specifically designed to uncover any ethical-related concerns;
- Ensuring that Service Level Agreements are in place with all external agencies.
- Watching and checking vehicles dropping off workers and checking car parks for minibuses
We regularly receive updates on the risks of modern Slavery via our peers, the GLAA, Non-Governmental Organisations (‘NGOs’) and other relevant stakeholders. This helps to expand our knowledge and highlight countries, product types or services that may be considered to have a higher risk of modern slavery. The knowledge and experience that we have obtained will help us identify the risks and issues, assess the level of importance and develop appropriate remedies. We will continue to collaborate and improve our understanding as time goes on.
We will continue for the remainder of this year and into 2024 to build on the progress we have made. Our risk mapping of suppliers will continue as will internal communication and awareness building.
We will continue to improve communication on this topic with our supply chain and welcome opportunities to collaborate to identify risks or solve problems that we cannot tackle alone. We will face common issues and by working together, not only with suppliers but also with other UK companies, we will be far more effective in meeting our common goal of eradicating Modern Slavery.
This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our modern slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 1st January 2023.