What is ‘Modern Slavery’
Modern slavery is an unacceptable, abhorrent, and often hidden crime, in which victims are exploited for someone else’s gain, including forced labour and domestic servitude. There are an estimated 40 million people in slavery globally. The most recent Government statistics estimate there were 16,938 potential victims of modern slavery referred to the Home Office in 2022, representing a 33% increase compared to the preceding year (12,706) and the highest annual number since the NRM began in 2009.
In 2015, in an effort to mitigate modern slavery within businesses, the UK Government introduced new legislation in the form of Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act, requiring businesses with a global turnover of at least £36 million to produce an annual statement, documenting any steps that their business has taken to mitigate the occurrence of modern slavery within their business and supply chain.
The Retail & Asset Solutions Group (The Company) is committed to operating its business ethically and with integrity throughout the organisation. Likewise, it is committed to preventing acts of modern slavery and human trafficking from occurring within both its business and its value chain across the UK and overseas.
Our commitment to addressing modern slavery will be by building awareness and helping to defeat forced labour, labour trafficking and other hidden third-party labour exploitation by:
- Providing our colleagues with policies and procedures for tackling modern slavery.
- Implementing good practice by completing site compliance audits, distributing information and articles through central communications and displaying posters on our client’s sites.
- Building awareness and engaging with our workforce to tackle modern slavery through toolbox talks and online learning modules.
- Enabling everyone, and especially our migrant worker communities, to report exploitation in a safe and confidential environment.
Our structure, business, and supply chains
The Retail & Asset Solutions Group (The Company) ultimate parent company of Retail & Asset Solutions Limited, RAS Supply Chain Integrity Limited and RAS Store Support Limited. We are a European business at the forefront of designing and delivering sustainable solutions for the complex retail and asset-based industries. We work at the heart of our client’s businesses, and our sector expertise means that we can design sustainable service solutions that align with their business strategies.
In order to perform our client’s contracts, we procure the majority of our goods and services from a core group of long-term suppliers. We take steps to ensure that our suppliers agree to comply with our policies which aim to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking from the supply chain.
Our policies on slavery, human trafficking and supplier due diligence processes.
As part of our commitment to operating ethically and in a manner which complies with relevant laws, we have in place a number of policies including in relation to the following: Anti-Bribery, Casual Workers, Equal Opportunities, Ethical Trading, Recruitment, Eligibility to Work, Vetting, Whistleblowing, Working Time Regulations, and Procurement.
In particular, our Supplier Charter requires our suppliers not to use any form of forced, bonded or involuntary labour, and to ensure that workers are not treated in a harsh or inhumane way. We also take steps to ensure that our suppliers are aware of our policies and we expect them to adhere to the same high standards.
We will also continue to work with our teams to ensure that our recruitment practices and labour agency agreements are fully compliant.
Areas of potential slavery and human trafficking risk
We are aware that heightened modern slavery and human trafficking risk exists in relation to certain territories, and in relation to the production of certain goods and supplies. In order to provide services to its clients, the Company occasionally engages with providers of temporary colleagues on an agency basis. We require all our suppliers, including these agencies to comply with all applicable local laws and legislation as well as adhere to our Supplier Charter (code of conduct).
We will continually review our suppliers, and enhance our policy and procedures to ensure that we only work with agencies who operate to the ethical standards that we expect.
We recognise the importance of actively engaging with our colleagues on many important matters, including our policies that relate to modern slavery and human trafficking. We have developed a suite of e-learning modules which will be available through the Company’s training portal facility and by utilising this facility we will commit to having at least 50% of all salaried colleagues trained on how to spot, tackle and prevent modern slavery with a view to increasing that percentage in 2024.
We actively encourage any individual or organisation, that discovers an activity or information that they genuinely believe to be a potential modern slavery and/or human trafficking occurrence, to disclose it in accordance with the Company’s Whistleblowing Policy and guidance and the Modern Slavery guidance.
We will continually review our strategy and our processes by utilising the services and resources of Stronger Together who supply us with a range of in-depth, training opportunities on tackling modern slavery, including open workshops and e-learning modules. Their in-depth tool-kits will inform and equip our business with clear measures to deter, detect and deal with exploitation in our business and supply chain now and in the future.
As an ethical employer, we operate a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and we are committed to mitigating the possibility of modern slavery within our business and supply chain. This document outlines the processes that have been put in place and alliances made in an effort to tackle this abhorrent crime.
This statement is made in accordance with Section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Human Rights Act (1998) for the financial year ending 2022.
V1.8 June 23