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Pilgrim’s UK strengthens its efforts to combat modern slavery

Leading pork producer Pilgrim’s UK has released its 2020 Modern Slavery Act report, alongside its latest set of targets to tackle modern slavery across the wider agricultural supply chain.

12 March 2021, at 10:44am

The report, spanning the 2020 calendar year, sets out Pilgrim’s UK’s progress in mapping all potential modern slavery risks related to its business and suppliers, the steps taken to tackle these and how the business is now looking to go even further.

Andy York, Human Rights Manager at Pilgrim’s UK, said: “Our latest Modern Slavery report and 2021 targets are based on a thorough audit and gap analysis of our policies and procedures. Training plays such a big part in raising awareness of the issue. Working with our customers and suppliers, we’re determined to ensure our Dignity at Work principles – where all employees are treated with integrity and respect – is replicated across the supply chain.”

The report shows how Pilgrim’s has worked with its supply chain partners to tackle modern slavery. This includes a full Human Rights risk assessment of its supply chain in 2020, and a comprehensive audit of all suppliers with over 30 employees, as well as onboarding suppliers to Sedex, the world’s largest collaborative platform for buyers, suppliers and auditors to easily store, share and report information. 85% of suppliers have been onboarded to the platform so far.

Crucially, through this approach, Pilgrim’s has also been able to increase the direct support it can provide to victims of modern slavery by 50%. This occurred by ensuring that those who were found to be victims of modern slavery were given full-term employment.

For instance, Pilgrim’s identified a potential modern slavery case with a contractor at its Linton site and set an investigation in motion, successfully tackling and resolving the issue. The business went above and beyond to ensure deeper training and to ensure a strong compliance culture with the agencies it works with.

The business is now going further in 2021. New measures include further intensive modern slavery training for supervisors and managers, with all staff at this level to have completed a 1/2-day course by September this year. By July, Pilgrim’s has also pledged to create and provide training around a modern slavery victim support framework to tackle any cases of modern slavery, should they arise. Training for the procurement teams on the impact of modern slavery across the supply chain is also set to be completed by June of this year.

Rachel Baldwin, VP – Human Resources, at Pilgrim’s UK, said: “We have zero tolerance for Modern Slavery. The targets we’ve set ourselves and the progress we’ve made as a business to date forms part of our drive to improve human rights within supply chains. Sadly, modern slavery is still an issue for the industry, and we see it as our responsibility to work with our suppliers to ensure no cases fall through the cracks and are tackled head on.”