Under Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 UK (GB and NI) there is a statutory obligation for increased transparency in supply chains, requiring any organisation, in any part of a group structure that supplies goods or services with a turnover of £36 million or more to produce a “slavery and human trafficking statement” each financial year. Such an organisation has an obligation to make a statement within 6 months of their year-end, indicating their position, policies, and diligence in relation to modern slavery. Bedeck as an ethical employer and manufacturer fully ascribes to the principles and requirements of the Modern Slavery legislation.
This is our second year of producing a Modern Slavery statement on behalf of the group. This statement is for the 12 months period to 30 September 2022. This statement is published in accordance with the Act and sets out the steps taken by the Bedeck Group of companies during the financial year ending 30 September 2022 to seek to prevent modern slavery in its business and supply chains.
The Bedeck Group
The Bedeck Group has its UK Head Office based in Northern Ireland which accommodates our design, sales, warehouse, administration, and technical staff teams. We hold and distribute stock from this facility with over 100 colleagues onsite.
We also operate over 50 retail stores and concessions located across UK and Ireland that employ over 200 colleagues.
Our supply chain currently includes Portugal, UK, Ireland, India, Pakistan, and China. That supply chain is actively managed by our offices in Northern Ireland and retained agents located in country. Agents visit factories to review products and factory conditions offering feedback to Bedeck Group as required. This amounts to regular coverage of around 40 home textile facilities.
The Bedeck Group Ethical Approach
It is a priority for The Bedeck Group to ensure that we trade ethically, source responsibly and work to prevent modern slavery throughout our organisation and in our supply chain. Bedeck respects and values its colleagues and expects their partners to do so as well.
We have always worked hard to make sure our supply chain shares our values and prefer suppliers who have achieved recognised international standards in this regard such as SMETA, Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or BSCI. Many of our suppliers are members of SEDEX and have been for some time.
We have always worked hard to make sure our supply chain shares our values and prefer suppliers who have achieved recognised international standards in this regard such as SMETA, Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or British Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). Many of our suppliers are members of Sedex and have been for some time.
Sedex is one of the world’s leading ethical trade membership organisations, working with businesses to improve working conditions in global supply chains. They provide an online platform, tools and services to help businesses operate responsibly and sustainably, protect workers and source ethically.
Using Sedex enables businesses to work together to better manage their social and environmental performance and improve working conditions throughout the supply chain.
Over 60,000 member organisations from over 180 countries use the Sedex platform to exchange data, manage business risk, meet compliance and drive positive impact on people. They have 16 years of expertise and work with some of the world’s most recognisable brands and standard setting organisations.
SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) is the most widely used social audit in the world. SMETA is Sedex’s social auditing methodology, enabling businesses to assess their sites and suppliers to understand working conditions in their supply chain.
We recognise the benefit of third-party Regulators such as Sedex and the BSCI, but do not rely exclusively on such.
The Bedeck Group Board of Directors acknowledges our responsibilities in relation to ethical business activity and tackling modern slavery within our supply chain and business. Our policies and our interaction with colleagues, as well as suppliers and customers, continues to reflect our commitment to acting ethically in all our operational matters. We will review our approach annually in accordance with the Act and will continue to monitor such compliance with a view to continuous improvement both within our facilities and within those of our supply chain
As part of our modern slavery due diligence, we have taken the following steps:
- Undertaken a formal assessment via a questionnaire of our top 10 international suppliers across India, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Ireland and Portugal which equated to coverage of 54.2% of total annual purchases.
- Undertaken a formal assessment via a questionnaire of our top 10 GB suppliers equating to 22.9% of total purchases.
- Bedeck Group became a Sedex member in 2021. This membership and the Sedex online portal allows us to digitally to assess the accreditation of suppliers as well as review supplier audit reports through the year.
- We have taken further steps to assess and manage the risks identified including:
- Addressing any concerns from questionnaire responses or Sedex’s SMETA audit feedback with our suppliers; and
- Providing ongoing training from a recognised external provider, A&L Goodbody, on the Act and compliance with its statutory code and principles. This training has been given to the Senior Board and cascaded through the year to all members of management and throughout the business.
This training has been augmented by amendments to our Policies and Procedures, to include our recruitment protocols.
A&L Goodbody have provided advice and guidance in creating and maintaining appropriate policies as well as creating bespoke training materials for the Bedeck Group.
Assessing And Managing Risk
The Bedeck Group Board has analysed the responses from the 20 questionnaires sent to suppliers providing 77.1% coverage of Bedeck Groups annual purchases. Reponses were as follows:
- 16 completed questionnaires were returned completed including all 10 from international suppliers.
- Suppliers responded with a link to their Modern Slavery Statement and company policies posted on their website that provided satisfactory answers to the questionnaire.
- One GB based supplier did not respond either on first request or on our follow up.
There were no non-compliance issues raised by these responses, but the Bedeck Group has nevertheless followed up with suppliers proposing improvements as required.
The Bedeck Group Board of Directors is responsible for producing an annual modern slavery statement, report and ensuring compliance. We will continue to monitor compliance with the Modern Slavery Act in our supply chain and our business.
The purpose of training is to ensure that our employees understand modern slavery which may occur in our business or supply chains. Modern Slavery training which is bespoke to the Bedeck Group has been developed and is being rolled out within the group at an appropriate level.
The Bedeck Group Board of Directors acknowledge their responsibilities in relation to ethical business activity and tackling modern slavery within the supply chain and business. We are committed to do the right thing with all our stakeholders so that we deliver the high quality, responsibly sourced product our customers expect. We will continue to work hard to be open and honest in the way we do business and ensure that ethical compliance and labour standards remain a principal driver in our sourcing policies.
This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in relation to the financial year ended September 2022.
Joint Managing Director
Joint Managing Director