In August 2017 Ethical Consumer viewed the Highland Spring group website for details of its supply chain management.
The company's Modern Slavery Statement 2016, dated June 2017, was viewed, which stated that it was currently "undertaking regular auditing across our Beacons and Fells locations", "Conducting half-yearly audits of our agency staff suppliers", and:
"Implementing a formal supplier approval process across our packaging, raw materials and warehousing supplier base which incorporates:
monitoring SEDEX membership status of new suppliers; and
understanding the ethical policy status of our suppliers and their adherence to the (ETI) Base Code."
It also stated:
"In our 2017 financial year, we intend to:
Implement a corporate anti-slavery and human trafficking policy.
Implement ETI Base Code of Conduct audits at our Braes, Ochils and Glen locations.
Provide training regarding slavery and human trafficking for all our management and procurement teams to ensure they understand the risk and to provide guidance on how to report and manage any concerns.
Continue to review our supplier approval process. In particular, assess whether:
to extend the supplier approval process to cover all new haulage suppliers;
additional scrutiny is required for certain groups of suppliers deemed to be higher risk;
to impose a mandatory requirement of SEDEX membership for new packaging, raw materials, warehousing and haulage suppliers;
a supplier code of conduct would be an effective addition to our supplier compliance requirements."
It was making progress but did not yet have a supply chain policy for all its suppliers covering child and forced labour, discrimination, freedom of association, living wages and working hours.
Although it said it was adhering to the Ethical Trade Initiative code of conduct, it was not a member. No evidence was found of systematic input from NGO's or unions into its auditing, or of a complaints process.
It had begun to conduct audits at some sites, but did not yet audit its whole supply chain, report audit results, provide an audit schedule, discuss remediation, or state who would be responsible for the costs of audits.
Overall the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for supply chain management.
www.highlandspringgroup.com (23 August 2017)