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Food companies 'lack transparency' on slavery risks in supply chains

Despite being asked to do so under the Modern Slavery Act, a new report shows that some food companies are failing to assess and report known risks of modern slavery in their supply chains -- but there are also examples of good practice in the food sector. 

Under the UK Modern Slavery Act, large firms were required to publish a 'Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement' by 30 September 2017. A report  from corporate watchdog the CORE Coalition looks at the statements produced by 50 large companies, including several food companies, and finds less than full disclosure. 
 
Home Office guidance recommends that companies include information in their statements on the risks of slavery and human trafficking. However: 
  • Chocolate companies Hershey, Ferrero and Lindt & Sprüngli do not provide information in their statements on their cocoa supply chains, in spite of all three companies acknowledging in other publicly available documents that they source from West Africa, where child labour and forced labour are endemic in cocoa production. 
  • Tea from Assam, north-east India, is a vital ingredient in the English breakfast blend. Extremely low wages are a contributing factor to human trafficking on tea estates in the region, but only one company (Betty and Taylors) makes specific reference to Assam in its statement. 
The CORE report also highlights good reporting practice, including by Mars, Nestle and Unilever, all of which specified known risks in their supply chains. Read the full report, Risk Averse, here
 
The Sustain alliance campaigns for greener, healthier and fairer food systems for everyone. Find out more about our activities and support us here.
 
 

13/10/2017
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Sustain: Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.