According to the International Labour Organisation millions of people around the world are kept in slavery which takes the form of servitude, forced labour, bonded labour, human trafficking and descent-based slavery.
We at H. Young have always had a zero-tolerance approach to slavery of any kind within our operations and supply chain, and we continually educate our employees and all stakeholders on required ethical standards.
The H. Young Group sources, markets and distributes brands to the retail sector. We own many of our brands and distribute others on an exclusive basis for overseas principals. We supply thousands of independent retail businesses across the UK, many of whom are household names, as well as retailing directly to customers online and through a number of our own retail outlets.
H. Young’s businesses employ over 1,000 direct staff. With suppliers in many countries, our product supply chains are extensive and global.
With respect to our supply partners, we aim to understand how and when risks to human rights may occur. In every country where we do business with third parties we try to identify and understand the local laws and cultural norms to allow us to work collaboratively with a supplier, and to assess the risks and the rights of their workers. This allows us to demand the right process in our relationships to avoid any type of slavery. In addition, we review closely where workers live, who has control of their personal documentation, working hours, work conditions, wages and the extent of worker collaboration.
To the best of our ability we apply the same process to subcontractors and agency staff.
We recognise that the highest risk of modern slavery occurring is in our supply chain either overseas or in the UK. As a result, we undertake relevant due diligence procedures on our risk suppliers:
• We operate a quality assurance and logistics office in China which conducts frequent factory visits for us.
• It is a requirement of our terms and conditions that suppliers agree to abide by and display our Code of Conduct. This includes policies on freely chosen employment, child labour and freedom of association.
• Factory audits are required on a regular basis, whether it be by an independent third-party or our own China Office.
• In the event that H. Young has any concerns or that any supplier is unable to provide us with an audit, we arrange for our nominated auditor to visit at our cost. Every time an audit is conducted a corrective action plan is established and we work with suppliers to resolve any issues. These can range from labour rights issues to updated health and safety requirements.
• In order to ensure that production takes place in the same factories that we have inspected, we carry out a substantial number of inspection checks during production.
• H. Young team members visit our factories. Whenever a member of staff visits from the UK they comprehensively document and photograph their factory tour. Key factories are visited by senior and line management on a frequent basis.
We are in our factories on a frequent basis with experienced staff who are trained in and aware of the challenges in our supply chain.
As an organisation, we have policies and procedures in place for correct recruitment and employment which protect our staff from anything resembling slavery, including:
• Recruitment and employment in line with UK Employment Law, including ‘Right to Work’ documentation checks and contracts of employment;
• Remuneration which respects the National Minimum/Living Wage.
• Health and Safety training for all staff.
• Policies and procedures for grievance, bullying, harassment and discrimination.
In order to achieve the required results, the ongoing training of all our staff with supply chain responsibilities includes anti-slavery training, including The UK Modern Slavery Act, identification of slavery in the supply chain and internal reporting procedures.