Tesco finds slavery issues in its supply chain

As a result of a number of potential concerns that had been identified by internal colleagues, Tesco has discovered several breaches of the anti-slavery policy within its supply chain.

Last year Tesco commissioned a report from Impactt, an independent human rights consultancy, to conduct an assessment of migrant workers’ rights stores and distribution centres in Thailand and Malaysia. The findings in Malaysia, based on interviews with 168 migrant workers, identified several serious allegations, including cases of passport retention and illegal wage reductions.

In response Tesco created a raft of policies changes and new methods of business, and also a similar action plan for Thailand, where a number of abuses were also reported. The Group Risk and Compliance Committee chaired by the Group CEO continues to monitor progress against these plans.

Stephen Beer, CIO, Epworth Investment Management and part of the Church Investors Group in a coalition to engage with companies on modern slavery, commented: “Any incidence of modern slavery is deplorable but at first sight this actually appears encouraging from Tesco. Its latest statement shows it followed up on these concerns, using a human rights consultancy to investigate, and it looks as if changes were made. If Tesco had reported no cases of modern slavery that might have been a matter of more serious concern. We want to see such evidence of companies actively addressing the problem.”

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