Preventing modern slavery
Providing fair and rewarding employment is part of Velocity’s purpose. From riders delivering goods through to the clients we form partnerships with to our office workers, management team and people throughout our supply chain – we’re committed to working as hard as we can to ensure that the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking are reduced.
This statement puts together a transparent report on what we are doing to reduce the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in our operations and supply chain.
What is modern slavery?
Modern slavery is a crime that encompasses the many ways people can be exploited and forced to work for little or no pay – such as forced labour or forced marriage. Victims are controlled by force, threats, coercion, abduction, fraud and deception.
In 2016, up to 40.3 million people across the globe were estimated to be living in some form of modern slavery.Increased migration is making many people more vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, with modern slavery being found in all industry sectors, from agriculture and fishing to domestic work.
The Asia and Pacific region has the highest prevalence of forced labour, at 4 victims per 1000 people (GSI, 2019),but no country in the world is free from modern slavery. Regardless of size, population, or wealth, unfortunately there are still critical gaps into which the most vulnerable people can fall and be exploited. The UK is perceived as a low-risk country, because of our relatively ample resources and strong political will – but in the 2020/21 financial year alone, 10,689 cases have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism (IASC, 2021). The real number of people living in some form of modern slavery in the UK is likely to be higher.
Fairness is one of our founding values, and remains at the heart of all we do. We are committed to remaining vigilant against the risks of modern slavery throughout our supply chain and client base.
We have developed our policies for effective due diligence and the assessment of modern slavery risks based on:
We make sure that our Whistleblowing Policy and Fair Labour Policy are both available to all staff as part of the induction process. The Whistleblowing Policy provides a safe channel of communication for co-owners to voice concerns about modern slavery or anything else relating to poor business or labour practices at Velocity that may be worrying them, and the Fair Labour Policy describes how workers at Velocity can expect to be treated. We also make our clients aware of the principles set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code.
Due diligence and risk assessment
At Velocity we deal directly with the vast majority of our clients, avoiding middlemen that disconnect the retailer from the producer. Having direct, long-lasting relationships with a network ofsmall clients gives us greater confidence in their production practices and their treatment of staff. However, remaining vigilant against the risks of modern slavery is paramount.
Checks & visits
Our due diligence processes allow us to scope for country and sector-specific risks, while a direct working relationship with business partners and clients gives us a greater visibility of our supply chain. However, modern slavery is not always obvious; people may go to great lengths to conceal this criminal activity.
While it is easy to see a positive image of labour conditions in our supply chain, we are aware of the hidden nature of modern slavery issues. We will continue to embed modern slavery indicator checks and visits into our procurement, supplier and client relationships.
We will continue to deliver and revisit relevant training on the risks of modern slavery, with a specific reminder for staff on the role that our Whistleblowing Policy plays in providing a safe way to raise concerns about potential instances of modern slavery or human trafficking in our operations or supply chain.
We will also be working directly with our core clients on reducing labour exploitation risks, and actions that they can take as individuals to tackle modern slavery. This will enable us to establish that they are confident in tackling the risks of modern slavery in their operations.