At Zest & Berry we take a zero-tolerance stance on the matter modern slavery and human trafficking and continue to encourage our employees to be observant of any suspicious or concerning activity that may be linked to slavery or human trafficking.

Raising awareness throughout our business is important, and we do this through company inductions and refresher training for the entire workforce, and we support the Stronger Together campaign. Multi-language Stronger Together workplace posters are also placed in prominent positions throughout the business. Our ‘Everyone Deserves Freedom – Fight Forced Labour’ has been viewed 739 times (correct as of 20th January 2021) which has been shared globally across our supply chain.

Training and checks

In 2020, travel was restricted due to the global pandemic so with far fewer visits possible, we utilised software tools that allowed us to delve into the data trends potentially linked to Modern Slavery. We also agreed on a project with &Wider – a Worker Direct Reporting company – that puts workers voice first, with our first project in Morocco. We continue to focus on agency labour and preventing worker exploitation within our business, and while auditing our labour provider through onsite visits was restricted in 2020, we are exploring virtual auditing options for 2021. We continue to ask specific questions in our own recruitment process, learnt from modern slavery training, which includes inductions and interviews. We use two labour providers at a packing facility, both are GLAA licence holders.

Stakeholder working groups

Zest & Berry are part of several Ethical Trading collaboration working groups, which in broad terms helps us accelerate learning and action. It is only through collaboration, that we can collectively learn and progress activity that helps tackle trafficking and slavery risk, in a joined-up manner. We are also members of the Association of Labour Providers (ALP). We continue our representation on the SEDEX board, with our own Senior Ethical Trading Manager appointed since March 2019 – he is also an active Audit and Risk Committee Board Member, with insight into broader industry ethical challenges.

Risk assessing globally

We successfully mapped our supply chain across tier 1, 2 and 3 during 2020 and agreed an extension to our partnership with the University of Kent Business Analytics division to help drive risk models and risk prediction algorithms, especially where our business enters new sourcing countries and/or supplier trading relationships. The projects with the University involve Masters Students (sponsored by statistics professors) who delve into our supply chain due diligence data and incorporate statistical models and machine learning to build supplier and site risk prediction scores – first and foremost this work enables us to see the strongest risk correlations, and provide a global supplier priority index.

We have not discovered any official cases of modern slavery to date, but we did undertake an investigation in the summer of 2020 supported by our retail partners to better understand working conditions in an area of our supply chain. We will continue to gather more information and raise awareness within our supply chain, in addition to second party ethical assessments when travel restrictions ease.

What will we do if we find modern slavery?

To date, we have not found, or been made aware of, any slavery or human trafficking incidents in our business or supply chain. However, key persons in management positions both in the UK and those who travel abroad, are responsible for highlighting any concerns or cases to the Senior Ethical Manager or HR team.

We will fully investigate any issue, and act promptly to engage the appropriate UK authorities. Should modern slavery be identified abroad, we will work closely with our supplier(s) to understand what the most appropriate action would be that best safeguards vulnerable workers.

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