Sainsbury’s has started working with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, which investigates labour exploitation, to train its product suppliers to identify whether hidden exploitative practices exist at the farms, pack houses, processing plants and factories throughout the global supply chain.
Under the Modern Slavery Bill currently going through parliament, companies will be expected to monitor their supply chains for exploitative practices.
Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s Brand, said: “Modern slavery within global supply chains is a serious issue and it is a priority of ours to work with our suppliers to address it.”
For Sainsbury’s pilot scheme GLA officers have developed a package to meet the specific requirements of the Sainsbury’s product suppliers.
GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent said: “We are delighted to have forged this industry leading agreement and to work alongside Sainsbury’s in this way. There is a real commitment and desire on both sides to identify any practice that subjects workers to exploitation.
“Such activity, by its very nature, is kept hidden by its perpetrators as far as possible and is difficult to detect but there are indicators to look out for and these are what we will be teaching Sainsbury’s product suppliers to spot.
“By raising awareness through training, Sainsbury’s is showing a determination to identify any issues of concern. I applaud them for this and will continue to work alongside them to tackle it.”
This new training arrangement builds on the GLA’s Supplier/Retail Protocol that was launched in October 2013 by Home Secretary Theresa May.
“We’re proud to have carried out the first pilot training for our suppliers in partnership with GLA, we hope this takes us a step further in tackling hidden labour exploitation,” said Batchelar.